How to Build Your Dream Team


By Howard Partridge

Do you have a dream? Do you have goals for your life or business? Here may be the problem standing in our way: We won’t reach our dream without a phenomenal dream team.

With the so-called “Great Resignation” in motion, it seems the biggest problem small business owners face is finding “good people.”

It can be frustrating. You feel like you’ll never have the team you need to reach your goals. If you have a dream but no team, you have to give up the dream or build up the team.

I know how you feel. I’ve always had big dreams. Over the past 37 years running a high-end residential cleaning company, I’ve endured just about every employee problem imaginable.

Finding the right people was a problem. I remember one day, an old low-rider-type car was sitting outside our office for the longest time. Two unsavory-looking characters were sitting in the vehicle with the doors open. Pot smoke billowed out of the car.

Assuming these guys were up to no good, I began to reach for the phone to have the police come by and assess the situation. About that time, one of them got out of the car and began walking toward our door.

He was wearing flip-flops, cut-off blue jeans, a yellow tank-top, and sunglasses (which he did not remove when he stepped inside the door).

“Can I help you?” I asked. “Y’all hiring?” he asked. I couldn’t believe it! He had been sitting out there smoking weed for the past 30 minutes, and he walked in here to ask for a job?

My response may not have been exactly legal when I said it, but my answer was, “We require a drug test. Is that going to be a problem for you?”

What he said next absolutely floored me! “That gonna be today?” In other words, if you give me a little time, I can pass that test. All of us know that there are little tricks to get a clean drug test if a person knows when it is going to be.

And it wasn’t just finding people that was a problem for me. Managing people was hard. I remember an occasion when I was so angry with my techs about something they did, that I ripped open my shirt and buttons flew everywhere.

Today, I truly have a phenomenal dream team. I have 30 of the most engaged, positive, eager-to-please team members you could possibly find. Plus, I have about 18 people who help me with my coaching company.

What is most important is that I have helped many cleaning and restoration companies (and a hundred other industries) build a team so they can reach their dream.

In this 8-part series, I will share how to:

  • FIND the right people.
  • ATTRACT the right people.
  • HIRE the right people.
  • PAY the right people.
  • TRAIN the right people.
  • COACH the right people.
  • DEVELOP the right people.
  • SUSTAIN the right people.

The common theme is “right people.” This is a reference from leadership expert Jim Collins and his book, Good to Great. Collins is famous for saying, “Get the right people on the bus, and then get them in the right seat.”

So, who are the right people? In his book, The Ideal Team Player, leadership author Patrick Lencioni says the right person is one who is humble, hungry, and smart. Not IQ- smart, but EQ-smart (otherwise known as ‘emotional quotient’). They have an elevated level of emotional intelligence, which is a fancy way of saying they are “people smart.”

My philosophy is that all in business and life is about relationships. When people have all three of these qualities, they are able to build great relationships with prospects, clients, fellow team members, vendors, and you.

The opposite of these qualities would be someone arrogant, lazy, and unaware of how they are coming across to others.

Let’s start by learning how to FIND the right people first.

Finding the right team members is just like finding customers. In fact, we call our team members internal customers because the relationship is much the same. If your team members aren’t happy, they won’t consistently make your clients happy.

Keep in mind, this article series is not about finding people through online ads. I’m not saying that those methods don’t work, but I think you’ll agree with me that a referred team member, or someone who knows you and has some kind of connection or relationship with you, is a better candidate.

That is, if you know how to build relationships with people. What I find is that many small business owners don’t have success in finding, hiring, and keeping people because they do not understand leadership. They don’t really know how to build that kind of relationship with the candidates and employees.

In fact, it is this point that is at the root of these problems. In 2013, I became the first Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer in the world. One of the programs we teach is called Building Winning Relationships. This is the most important skill you can have as a business owner. But, people ignore it.

Have you ever noticed that when two people have a conflict, they play the blame game? A business owner or manager laments, “If I could just find good people…” The employee complains, “If my boss wasn’t such a jerk…”

In this series, I am going to challenge you to be the person you need to be to build your own dream team. You see, “everything rises and falls on leadership,” and “the toughest person to lead is always ourself.”

My friend and leadership expert John C. Maxwell said that. He also said that “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” So how can you influence someone else’s life? By adding value to them. My mentor and hero, the late Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar, always said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

You see, most small business owners and managers get this backward. They may tend to lord over their employees and then harshly judge them without training.

My friend and colleague Ellen Rohr (who built two companies from zero to $40 million in franchise sales) says, “Tracking without training is mean.” That makes sense.

So, you’ll need to shift from boss mentality to leader mentality. In this series, I am going to challenge you to learn how to build winning relationships. I will share proven leadership concepts that will help you find, attract, and develop the right people, ultimately ending up with a dream team that will help you reach your dream.

I feel so blessed and thankful to have found team members that have been with my business now for over twenty-five years! The business is turnkey, which means I never have to be there. Ever. It is predictable and profitable, even while I am walking on my dream beach.

I hope this series in Cleanfax  (see them developed in upcoming issues) helps you not only develop superior leadership skills, but also build your own dream team for your business so you can have more freedom in your life.

Howard Partridge started his cleaning business out of the trunk of his car over 37 years ago and transformed it into a multi-million-dollar operation. For the past 25 years, his training and coaching firm has helped thousands of small businesses around the world dramatically improve their performance. For more information, visit

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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