opinion

A Focus on the Office: Building the Team You Need

Steve Bryson

When I founded OrbitalPay in March of 2008, I did so with the understanding that it would only be successful if I managed to assemble a team of people who were competent, capable and fully engaged with clients. There is no way to digest all of the regulatory changes, stay ahead of trend curves, satisfy the support needs of every client and continue improving the offerings of a top tier payment processing company as a one-man band.

That’s why the team building concepts and strategies utilized by large organizations has always fascinated me. From the Toyota Production System developed by Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda in the late 1940s and 1950s to the autobiographies of industry leaders like Richard Branson and Jack Welch.

Evaluating your own company with fresh eyes at every employment inflection point is essential to building the team you need.

What I have learned during the growth of OrbitalPay is that hiring, sifting, sorting and creating a culture of competence is a constantly evolving process. During my time at the helm we have made consistent improvements in our hiring process which started off as a mostly interview and resume focused event but has now become much more technical to properly vet new hires and make sure they have the experience to be effective rather than just the charisma to get through an interview easily. That has become a crucial step forward in the next phase of our development at OrbitalPay.

Some of our longest tenured team members, including industry veteran Karen Campbell, have proven to us internally and to many of our clients externally that they have genuine value. Others who started strong ended up ineffective for one reason or another and eventually moved on. The key is to have defined metrics for performance, and those usually go far beyond sales or monetary statistics. Focusing on criteria, using initiative, and being willing to take action is also an essential component of corporate efficiency.

When we lose a team member, our sole intention becomes finding someone who fits our team better. That means clearly articulating the elements that were missing and finding a skill set that will fulfill those open requirements without making any of it more personal than necessary.

In one of our most recent moves we elevated Jordan Stewart to the position of vice president. That determination was based in part on Jordan’s exemplary performance within the payment-processing vertical and in part from our own internal analysis of specific efficiency elements we wanted to add to our management team.

Jordan has exactly the right skill set to fit the tasks the team needs completed and is much more of a straight-line thinker, which is essential to the role he is now successfully undertaking. His ascension has helped make our entire company even faster to respond to market forces and quicker up and down each vertical of our internal supply chain.

It’s important to keep in mind that when anyone at your company moves on, you aren’t really looking to replace that person or to fill the vacated position. What you should be doing is deciding what the criteria would be for the best possible addition to your team.

Often someone will work for your company for a number of years, and while they may have been the perfect hire back when they started — they wouldn’t be the right fit if they came along this afternoon. That’s because businesses are always in motion and the needs of your company today are likely to be far different from what they were years ago or will be years into the future.

Evaluating your own company with fresh eyes at every employment inflection point is essential to building the team you need.

Now that we have covered the team you need, it’s also important to discuss the team you want. While efficiency and quarterly growth are obviously important goals to keep in focus, the longer term success of your company comes down to other equally important factors like camaraderie, morale, an interlocking mix of personalities and other characteristics that are much harder to quantify statistically. These are the determining factors when deciding which person to hire.

Suppose you are looking for a new IT professional. Someone to handle system administration, internal IT requests and to be able to fluently discuss any number of support questions that arise from internal or external customers.

The list of people who “can” do that job is long. The list of people you would “want” doing that job for your company is always a whole lot shorter. Finding the right person to fit the rest of your team in ways that make them want to come to work in the morning is crucial to your long-term success.

The most competent team in the world will always lose to another team that is about equally competent but exudes the kind of confidence and caring about team goals that can only be fostered by a shared sense of community and loyalty. That’s an important point. A good team is loyal to their company or their fellow employees; a great team is always loyal to both.

It has been a long and winding road but in 2015 I believe OrbitalPay finally has the team it needs to succeed, as well as the team I want.

Getting beyond the distractions of office politics, focusing on the needs of our clients, and doing it all in a way that allows every team member to feel the level of respect, care and importance we all share is fueling our growth and making our company a great place to go to work each and every morning.

Steve Bryson is CEO of Orbital Pay, which offers a premier gateway billing solution as well as merchant accounts with competitive rates for all business types.

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