Know your ‘audience’: The audience could be a customer, team, group or the broader market you are serving. I have learned to never assume I have defined the audience’s needs exactly right (plus needs change), so I use iterative processes that enable me to learn as I am working with the group or team.
As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a large team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Eiss is a results guru who helps others get work done well. She’s a thinker, creator, leader, technology systems designer and an expert in today’s ‘Gig Economy.’ As the Founder and CEO of ResultsResourcing®, an online freelance talent concierge platform, and service, Elizabeth is a sought after expert on the future of work and has redefined talent management principles based on virtual and freelance talent trends. ResultsResourcing® helps organizations scale by leveraging virtual freelancers who are vetted and personally-curated using proprietary technology Elizabeth designed and co-developed.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
My backstory is that I’ve always had a passion and gift for finding great talent. After a successful career as a C-suite executive in multiple industries, I decided to trade it all in for the world of entrepreneurship and become a tech-preneur — primarily because I had found a way to bring technology together with human insights, to curate great talent. It’s been a passion for most of my career.
I believe Thomas L. Friedman articulated it well: While there is growing AI (artificial intelligence) there is a faster-growing need for IA (intelligent assistance) to help people use technology for their benefit. And IA can only be provided by human beings.
That’s what I focus on today: human beings… leveraging technology… to find great talent.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
My whole career has been extraordinarily interesting and most certainly has been an expanding platform for thinking about what’s possible.
So this is not a story per se, but an observation.
I’ve come to learn that scarcity is one of the best drivers of innovation.
Whenever I’ve been resource-constrained (such as funding, staff, systems, professional contacts), it’s caused me to re-think the problem and develop new approaches. The scarcity of resources when confronted by big goals, forces me to question assumptions and invent new ways to achieve objectives — while remaining true to my purpose and principles.
This philosophy drove my intrapreneurial thinking in the corporate world and entrepreneurial thinking today, to build a new way of curating great global talent.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was interviewing for my first job as a manager, I was quite ‘young’ for the role, and would also be switching companies. I was sure I was the top candidate and was asked how much I wanted to be paid in the final interview. I said ‘Well, at least the minimum” — having no idea what it was except that it was more than I was currently making. Of course, I got the job and my wish — the minimum salary for the job.
This all happen before the days of data ubiquity, but I learned to:
- Always do my homework
- Be my own advocate
- Be bolder in asserting my worth
- For a win/win relationship, pay should be a conversation about the range for the role and value the candidate brings to the table
I’ve followed those lessons ever since, even as an entrepreneur.
The idea for ResultsResourcing started when I was consulting for a small business client and the founder wanted to hire one of my resources (let’s call him “Fred”). My client said, “Your people are great. I need a Fred just like yours. How do you find such great resources?”
I was tempted to say, “I’ll find a Fred for you,” and quickly realized that there was tremendous value in finding talented resources for clients.
ResultsResourcing was born at that moment.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on the best way to manage talent today?
I had plenty of managers to learn from — both what do to and what not to do.
Regardless of the generation, we’re all basically looking for the same thing from managers.
- We want clear goals and direction.
- We want to work in an environment that maximizes our gifts and passions.
- We want to be appreciated and encouraged, but not micro-managed.
- Once that foundation is set, we want our manager to simply provide guidance, advice, and expertise, when needed, followed by either pep talks or tough talks when needed to ensure we get results.
I also believe the best leaders lead by example.
There’s a dichotomy in leadership: we bear the ultimate responsibility for performance, while effectively delegating responsibility to others.
How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?
The solid foundation for effective teamwork includes establishing clear goals, creating alignment within the team and communicating early and often.
Being clear on what needs to be accomplished means to establish both the “what” and the “how.” Too often managers and entrepreneurs provide vague direction and indirectly confuse team members. Clarity is key.
Once the objective is clear, alignment is the next area of focus. All team members need to have a clear understanding of the mission and be committed to the end goals for execution.
In large teams and complex or ongoing projects, alignment is crucial and enabling team members to make good judgment calls is essential for success.
Finally, there’s communication. I encourage leaders to communicate early and often. When I speak about communication, I mean 360-degree communication — up/down/sideways — to reveal blind spots or work through misalignment.
Communication around goals should inspire team members to perform at their best.
Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, Ideally an example from your experience)
My top 5 things to know about successfully managing a team are:
- Know your ‘audience’
The audience could be a customer, team, group or the broader market you are serving. I have learned to never assume I have defined the audience’s needs exactly right (plus needs change), so I use iterative processes that enable me to learn as I am working with the group or team.
2. Set clear goals or results to be achieved, in the context of the ‘audience’:
If you haven’t defined your goals you won’t know if you ‘get there’ and won’t have the proper context for decision-making. You can always change a goal, but make sure you establish the starting line and measures of success to track progress.
3. Talent is everything:
The talents on your team will make or break you as a leader. No one person can do it all — so focus on building and empowering the team to share your vision and commit to achieving it with you. When goals are achieved together, everyone appreciates the success too!
4. There are both formal and informal leaders around you:
People and teams form formal and informal alliances and structures. In addition to establishing a team structure and ownership for work on the team, recognize how people interact and work with one another and that will make teamwork more effective.
5. Provide clear structure & process to achieve results:
Establishing structure and processes will ensure your team is efficient and stays motivated, as you optimize results. People will work more efficiently and be more effective with clarity.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Be the spark that inspires your team to problem solve and perform, to go beyond what seems possible — to be innovative and resourceful, even within the protocols of a corporation. Create the environment for possibility.
Make sure you’ve set your team up for success — by setting clear goals, establishing leading measures of success, fostering team alignment followed by 360 communication and performance processes.
Be a mentor, not a master (except when events require this). Lead by example, create the strongest, most versatile team you can, based on what needs to be accomplished, set the team up for success and then get out of the way — except to run interference for your team. Your team is going to help you deliver the result you need to deliver — and go beyond what you may have deemed possible.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am a purpose-driven entrepreneur. My mission is to empower purpose in organizations.
I help solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, small and mid-sized businesses, achieve THEIR purpose by matching them with curated virtual talent who can add value and accelerate their timeline to mission success.
A couple of years ago, a study by Babson College and Goldman Sachs/10k Small Businesses stated “Small businesses have the power to transform America…Every day, small business owners apply their extraordinary potential to spark competition, drive innovation, build communities, and better the quality of life for its citizens.”
The movement I would like to inspire and enable is the extraordinary potential of teams and small businesses. With the right talent, they can scale and compete bigger, have more impact by developing a talent ecosystem that rounds out the core team so they can do more of whatever serves their purpose.
I also hope I can inspire other women to believe that they ‘can do it’ — whatever their “it” is.
Great ideas come at every age — just commit to making the most of your ideas and expanding your outlook, one day a time.
Last I would say: Be curious, take calculated risks, take that off-beat assignment to gain new experience, have a side-hustle to try things out, network, hang-out with people different from you (and not all your same age or industry).
Years ago, I never would have imagined that I’d be a female tech entrepreneur today. I just started my career as a risk underwriter, with no grand aspirations, but made the most of every opportunity before me. We can all do that.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My current life lesson quote ties to my passion for ResultsResourcing®. It’s a quote from Peter Drucker who said (over 50 years ago): “Do what you do best, and outsource the rest.”
We help businesses focus on what they do best, by finding the best freelance talent suited for the work those businesses can outsource. In doing so, our clients achieve more, deliver more value to their clients and spend their time doing what they are passionate about.
We’re an online talent concierge and matchmaker for freelance resources. We make best-matches and guarantee satisfaction. When it comes to contract hire, we do the work, so our clients don’t have to.
I am a purpose-driven spark. I connect dots; I help people see how they can turn ideas into do-able and believe they can.
Thank you for these great insights!