Having a large pool of people who can help make your vision come true is a wonderful resource. But how do you go about building your team?
Your first inclination is going to be try to sell them on what a wonderful idea you have and how exciting the future is going to be. After that, you might want to talk about their roles; salaries, stock options and the like, all as part of your sales process.
Honest selling is a noble profession. Great salespeople can make your life easier when you are looking to buy. But while a great salesperson wants you to be happy, her ultimate focus is in getting you to do what she wants: buying. Her goal is to make the sale, a transaction of real things (her goods or services for your money.)
That isn’t a great foundation on which to build a team.
Let us suggest a different way of going about it. Instead of selling them, try to get them to enlist or enroll.
When someone enrolls it is because you have inspired them to act in favor of what they want to do. They become part of your efforts because they are excited by your dream and want to become join you. The essence of enrollment is that your efforts become their efforts as well.
Enrollment is about offering them the chance to do something they might want to do (in this case becoming part of your effort.) You don’t convince them. They truly convince themselves.
It’s a voluntary, personal commitment on their part.
And because it is the commitment runs deeper.
How you get that enrollment to happen is a pretty straightforward process.
Step #1: Be enrolled yourself. You can’t expect to gain the commitment of others if you’re not committed yourself. You must want to make your idea a reality. Starting anything new is hard enough if you are committed. Others can sense if you are not enrolled. They can tell you are not excited about the idea or truly committed to making it happen. And if they get that feeling, they are bound to ask: “If he is not really into it, why should I be?”
If you try to enroll someone when you are not truly enrolled yourself, you end up selling, and you probably don’t even don’t even do a very good job of it.
Step #2: A relationship of authenticity with a person who cares. (Honesty really is the best policy.)
Okay, you are truly committed to your idea. Now you want to get people to come along. What’s the next step?
You talk to anyone and everyone about what you want to do. And you are genuine and transparent. You give them a complete picture. And not only do you tell them the positive and negatives, to the extent you know them; you also tell them why your idea is so important to you. If it is because you want to make a lot of money, tell them. If it really is all about a small part of the world a better place, say that. Remember, one of the results in enrolling people is a lasting relationship. You do all of this because you want first and foremost an authentic relationship on which trust and joint action can be built. You can only build this kind of meaningful relationship if you are being forthright.
What you are hoping for is that they will enroll with you and be inspired to take action. And one of the first actions you want them to take is to tell you what they think of your idea. If you’re sitting there talking to someone about what is really important to you, it is the most natural thing in the world to want to know if what you are excited about rings their chimes; you want to know if it did anything for them. You want to hear something back!
If the response is negative, or not what you hoped, that’s fine. All that means is you are at a dead end (at least as far as the enrollment process goes with this person). Far better you should know that early on. What you don’t want to do is to continue to expect enrollment when it is clear it doesn’t make sense for her.
People enroll with you, perhaps even more than with your vision. That’s why you tell the complete truth. And they will either join you or not. That is just the way it goes. There’s nothing you can do to “get someone to enroll.” When you try, you’ll invariably become manipulative and start selling your vision. The person you are trying to sell to will see right through it. People can immediately sniff out when you are trying to get them to do something, even if it is in their best interest. There is no reason to go down this road when what you are looking for is genuine commitment to your cause. People either want to enroll or they don’t.
People will only enroll when what you have resonants within them. The deeper the connection between what you are talking about and what is important to them, the more likely they are to put their shoulder to your wheel alongside you. And, fortunately, that happens fairly frequently. When it does, you end up discussing what is important to both of you. At that point, your vision clarifies to you and actually changes, even if only a bit, to become our vision.
Step #3: Offer Action. An integral part of the enrollment process is immediately offering the person who wants to join you some real work to do, no matter how small. When that action occurs, that’s when you know the enrollment has really taken place.