The reading level for this article is Novice

If you are starting a business, a project or a family then you are starting a company of people. When you get a bunch of people working towards a common goal then you are starting a company. Attracting the company of other people is the quintessential human activity. Building connections and relationships is almost the most natural thing that biological organisms do. We do it every day when we work and play in the company of other people. We also know that some teams really work and some teams crash and burn. What are the key elements that make the difference? Have you ever worked in a group of people where everything just seemed to work like clockwork? Each member of the group had a purpose and nobody got in anybody else’s way? These types of rare unions do exist and it is apparent that with the right leadership these teams can be created.

Trust vs. Experience

Trusting only your experience can be dangerous because each business is very different. There is no doubt that experience is valuable and the experienced person will feel more confident about building a new team or managing an existing group but it cannot guarantee success. Building a productive, healthy team of people is not a function of how much experience you have in creating harmonious teams but rather a function of the trust within the group. Trust is what binds our thriving relationships and the lack of it is what will lead to the unions collapse. Building trust is not something that can be done instantly but it is possible to remove doubt fairly quickly. The best way to initiate a pathway to trust is to remove doubt. The best way to remove doubt is never ever lie and keep your partner or team members up to date with relevant and useful information.

Managing Expectations

If you have ever made a promise you can’t keep then you will know that awful feeling of letting somebody down. In a way promising to something that you cannot fulfill is as bad a flat out lying and it’s just as hard to back from. By under promising you not only save face but you retain the advantage of being able to exceed expectations. Executive coaches guide their partners to use the principle of under promising and over delivering. It is a powerful tool in managing expectations.

Automatic vs. Time Tested

A group of great individuals does not equate to a great team. There is nothing automatic about creating a team that will lead to greater productivity. It is more likely that the great people, and their great egos, will find it more productive to act for their own good. This is one of the serious problems with modern companies. It is assumed that by buying the best of the best and fencing them into teams will automatically lead to success.

Be Selfish

Advice like this may seem counter intuitive at first. The first rule of lifesaving is that you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself. If you intend on starting a company or being the member of a group you need to be sure you can help yourself first. Be selfish and consider what you want from the group and make sure that the group understands this. It is another way of managing expectations. If every member of the company is aware of what the others want and are willing to then the work will flow a lot more smoothly. This means that you are ready to accept responsibility and the tasks that are set out for you.

Start Up Management Is Different From Ongoing Management

If you understand the difference between these two management skills then you are probably already a great manager. This is the hardest lesson that any leader will ever learn. Starting a revolution and rebuilding once the smoke has settled requires two very distinct characters. Don’t be fooled by the likes of Bill Gates who was both the founder and then the senior leader of Microsoft. This combination of skills in one person is very rare. If you are good at attracting people to start something from scratch you will probably want to be starting something from scratch in a few years time. Being a started with low follow-through skills is not a failing, it’s just one of the many different types of leaders that any economy needs to survive. Think of it this way, if the fast growing plants don’t take hold when the earth is ravaged by floods then the top soil will be blown away and the big trees will never get a chance to take hold.

Learn to Listen

Can you remember what the person that was just in your office said to you? Probably not. Even though our ears outnumber our mouth we are not very good listeners. It is a skill but more importantly it is a sign of maturity. If you can stop yourself from interrupting or speaking during a meeting you will be astounded by the things you hear. Both said and unsaid. When we stop to listen we open ourselves to hear the subtleties of what people are really saying. Is the manager who repeatedly shares her own experience with everyone really so experienced or is she asking for more recognition for her achievements?


Apply loads of judgment to advice. It is a common fact that people prefer to dispense advice than to receive it. When you receive advice from your advisors it is excusable to initially ignore it and continue to ask for more input. Knowledge is a powerful motivator when making tough decisions.


Intuition is the greatest advisor you can have in all aspects of your life. This is especially true when working in the company of other people. Listen to your gut even after you have gathered your advice. Learning to listen to your gut will be the greatest intellectual achievement of your life. The amazing biophysicist Candace Pert PhD in her work on the relationship between emotions and molecules identified receptors on every major organ that respond to the same external stimuli that the brain responds to. Every cell in our bodies is studded with hundreds of thousands of these receptors. Because of their crucial role in guiding our bodies’ responses to inner and outer cues they have been called informational substances. By being aware of what your body is telling you in a situation you can make better decisions that will benefit yourself and ultimately the team you work with.

First Build the Company

If you have any desires to build a business that will generate profits then you must create a company first. The great company leads to a great business. People are the core of all business but getting those people to work in harmony with each other is what is core to successful businesses.

The Mind of The Group

Having served in the army I know that there is nothing so mindless as a group of people. The individuals thinking and acting power far outweighs the power of the group. Group energy is the direct result of the ability of the individuals in that group to remain independent. Give your teams the power to think as individuals. If you remove the ability of the individual to think, be productive and be innovative you will never build a strong team. The team is just a support structure for the individuals in the group. The purpose of creating companies is to unify this power not to distribute it.


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This Personal Development article was written by Richard Banfield on 2/14/2005

Richard is an experienced marketing executive, entrepreneur, coach, speaker, workshop leader, writer and business development person. He has served in a broad range of positions such as Founder, CEO, CMO, VP of Web Channel, Director of Business Development and Sales Manager. Richard currently runs Fresh Tilled Soil drives growth in companies by building sales and marketing systems that continually generate leads and sales.
He also lectured on the subjects of marketing and online advertising and have authored guides to sales, account management, global business development and marketing strategy. His career as a communications leader started as an officer in the South African Defense Force and since then he has spent the last decade building and running businesses, including four technology start-ups in the online media, printing, and software industries. He has also raised institutional and private financing, started businesses from the ground up and coached others to do the same.
You can reach Richard at