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  • Sunny Bhanushali

How do you build a team of Warriors, not Employees

When I was first looking out for a job, the first job, was all about how much money I can earn. At my first job I worked at assigned work times, I finished my given jobs with no interest or creativity. Took loads of sick leaves, had tons of reasons to be a mediocre employee. On my week-offs, I slept for long hours, watched movies, went out with friends, and crib about the next working day because I didn’t like the job.

Read the above again, this is the story of more than half the people on earth. It shows that I didn’t care about the company. You see, the things you like to do is not a job, it’s a play. You don’t work, you play, your job profile / give task becomes the game for you and you love it and want to play as much as you can. I never felt that way in most of my jobs because I was just an employee filling the left out tasks.

So what is the difference in warriors/players Vs? mere employees. Players' main objective is the growth of the company and they are very aware of their roles and responsibilities and how it matters in the long run while employees' main objective is to earn money as much as one can while doing as less work as possible. Players don’t wait for the work assignment, they find work as they love playing, the employee may sit all day doing nothing if there is no work assigned to him. Players will work overtime even when their managers or bosses never asked for, while the employees avoid this unless they get hefty overtime pay. Players consistently devote their time to learning new skills and elevating self while employee hates learning and changes. Players like to share their skills and expertise with others so the entire company grows while an employee cares about his performance over others.

Why did I care to explain all of that to you because it is so important to understand the above to build a team of warriors/players and not employees? In professional terms by law, those players are also employees, but what I am getting at is about the mental attitude the one carries who is working with you. There is a difference between a warrior mindset and an employee mindset, the difference is of night and day. Now, not all those who join your company has the required mental attitude at first, but you got to help them build it so that they start playing and not just merely finishing the job assigned to them, and those who fail to do so are not meant for your company.

So, as far as my understanding goes, it all starts with the Vision of your company. This is such an important piece of the puzzle that decides the fate of the company, especially for startups. The Vision and Mission combined lays the pathway for the company's future, if you have it in clear precise words it is much easier to embed it into your company’s culture. When the Vision is blurry, the mission is messy and the company culture is on the toss and what you will breed is a failure.

Now, I am not saying to stay away from the employee mindset, I believe otherwise, it's the culture of the company which breeds warriors, which shows the pathway to the mere employees to become the warriors. They may join your company for money and job, but you give them the reason to become the warriors and they feel elevated and new. People have a lot of potentials, your company can be the ground to help them achieve their fullest potential.

Now how do you do that?

You first got to believe in your people and express it to them. Tell them that they are future heroes. Share your vision and make them the part of it, let them own your vision. You can’t win your people through high commissions and high salaries, there is always going to be some other company that will pay more than you and they will readily move unless they own the company. Yes, you heard it right, they got to feel the ownership in the company. Appreciate for their effort and challenge them for the next one, push harder so they have to learn new skills. Make learning a part of the company’s culture.

What I do in my company is assign different genres of jobs to different people so that they have to learn all that is happening in the company to whatever degree they can learn, this allows them to explore other parts of the company while collaborating with warriors of other departments. For Eg: a graphic designer sometimes makes sales calls for my art school, another example is the accountant once in a month or so develops marketing strategy with the marketing team. It may sound foolish, but this is what I do as the owner of the company, I sit with every team, every person, and try to understand what better can be done. I am no different than any other warrior working with me. This is how I teach my warriors to lead. I consistently try to embed this into our culture -- that every single person is a leader, they are collaborating with other leaders to move forward towards the vision of the company.

You got to make them believe that they are leading the own scope of work and how crucial is the part of the company in which he/she is leading. They have to own that scope of leadership. You got to assign responsibilities and trust their potential, they may fail for the first time, but you got to guide them and let them do it till they do it successfully, here the appreciation is the key.

Support and care of what they like the most, it can be one's hobby, family, etc. Show that the company cares about it and supports him, For Eg: In my company, we gifted pro bicycle to one of our warriors by everyone contributing towards its cost as he loved mountains and riding through it. He never ever thought this was coming, he just went on leave twice a year for trekking and so we went ahead and found that he talks about having a bicycle to mountain ride, so we surprised him. And we do this for all our warriors.

Now those who don’t fit in your culture are just going to drop out anyway, it is about those who fit in and ride along with you. You being a business owner, your job is to build the culture to support the vision where everyone shares the same vision. Hiring the right people plays a crucial part in the company’s success. Don’t just hire people out of skills, their mindset and attitude are much more important. Today's world is loaded with technology, it has become far easier to train someone with the skills you need, but you need people who are excited about being a warrior and not being in a closed safe comfortable box.

Hope this blog post was helpful, share it with your loved ones.

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