How to build an A-team?

I want to share my case and also to ask about your experience in building stellar teams from scratch.

I left Leroy Merlin and started freelancing as an innovation consultant in 2018. It worked well and I sold a couple of projects to Corps. I worked, then traveled and spent money. Then I worked again.

The freelance thing turned out to be a bit of a problem. I was selling and working at the same time. Delegating the function of selling your services is nonsense. So I had to delegate the operational part. As a result, I agreed with one colleague to do consulting together and created a venture. We decided to use the Prosci international franchise as a secret sauce.

I immediately ran to look for employees. I wanted to hire «Big 3» level candidates. I needed to somehow get around the problem of not having a well-known brand and give a cool perk in return.
“Big 3” is McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

It’s important to say here why I didn’t go to the “Big 3”. I liked consulting as an occupation, and I worked in it for a long time. But I just don’t like to work hard.

So I sold candidates the idea of «consulting of a healthy person», based on the following principles:
1. Responsibility starts from day one, including meetings with top client executives;
2. The ability to influence the progress of a project and offer ideas directly to clients;
3. Keeping a clear work schedule without overnights.

Here’s what I used to say directly during interviews: “It’s important to me that you have something that makes you close your laptop and leave work.” Night robots cannot do exceptional consulting. Only free and creative people can do that. And overnights are a consequence of partners’ and managers’ inability or unwillingness to manage client expectations. I know this very well.

The business has been gone for a while, but we keep in touch with my former colleagues, and I am proud to be friends with them.

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