How do you build a successful company? There are many answers to this question, but the one that offers the most longevity and continued success is to build a company with depth. You see, having the best talent on your team TODAY does not guarantee that you will have the caliber of talent in the FUTURE. You always have to be thinking one step ahead. People do change companies. People retire. People change departments. People get sick. These things are inevitable.

Have you followed the Houston Astros organization in the past 5 years?  If you are like most of America, you probably haven’t.  Why?  They haven’t been competitive.  They found themselves in an awful situation after all of their star players grew older and they were too busy trying to play for the present and not prepare for the future!

The Astros have learned from their mistakes.  Even though they have had 3 consecutive 100 loss seasons, they are NOW  planning for the future, not the present!  This is a complete different way of thinking.  They are racking up the draft picks, they have traded their high dollar players, and spent time developing players at the minor league level.  Their minor league farm system has been ranked #1 and their day will come soon when they will be the best baseball team in the world.

Companies have made mistakes like the Astros also.  They are HOT one minute and the next, they are floundering wondering what went wrong. They get complacent. They have everything in place and everything seems to just “click”. THEN.. SOMETHING HAPPENS.  Look at Apple.  They had the whole world with an iPhone in their hand.  Today, there are more Android phones than iPhones.

How do you build a successful bench? Here are 5 Ways that you can do it:

  1. Find the Right Culture Fit – You could find the absolute best candidate out there with all of the right skills, but if he doesn’t “fit” within your organization, then it will never work out. Let’s look at Terrell Owens. When Terrell played, he was strong, fast, and a great football player. He was however, a mess. He was not a leader. He was always complaining and always finds himself in the center of controversy. If you find someone like this to lead your organization, you are in trouble. Look harder for someone who you can groom the can be a good fit for the company.
  2. Identify your Strengths and Weaknesses – This is a must! Your company has to know where it is strongest and weakest. If you are strong in one area, what will you do if they leave? Who do you have identified to take over when something happens? Do you remember when Joe Montana career ended and Steve Young was there to take over when Joe was hurt?  Who is your Steve Young? If you are weak in one area, start building now.  Start thinking ahead NOW!
  3. Identify Leaders That Are Adaptable – The market changes. Technology changes. People change. The direction of the company must change. Remember the Run and Shoot offense that the Houston Oilers ran with Warren Moon? Talk about something completely something different that defenses have seen. Entire defensive strategies had to be changed to adapt to this kind of offense. Be ready because a curve ball like this could be thrown at your company.
  4. Identify Leaders that are Contrarians – Find people who are not just “yes” people. Find leaders that challenge the way things are done today. Find innovative people. These individuals SHOULD NOT be seen as a negative, but something as a POSITIVE. Imagine if some of the leaders in our history listened to all the naysayers. Leaders  and think ahead.
  5. Realize that Building a Bench is a Continual Process – Recruiting and building teams is a NEVER ENDING process. Don’t stop when you are ahead. Work harder on thinking about the future. I love watching great college basketball programs like Kansas and Duke. Year after year they are always in the top 25. Why? They NEVER stop recruiting!