After Jason Forrest was fired from his job as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch in 2001, he didn’t wallow in the setback. He took a job in sales, worked his way up to sales manager and eventually became a corporate trainer for a Fortune 500 company. He enjoyed his work as a trainer so much that he founded his own leadership training company, Forrest Performance Group, in July 2010.
He is now a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and his company does more than the average training program by supplying clients with support at every stage instead of just at the beginning.
“We act as mentors throughout this process, offering guidance as new goals are defined and ultimately achieved,” he says.
Forrest believes the key to unlocking people’s potential lies in teaching real-world techniques instead of sales theories, as well as offering long-term, comprehensive programs rather than one-day events (what he nicknames “love you and leave you” seminars). He applies those same ideals to his own business.
“My ultimate goal is to build a company people want to work for, that strengthens them, so they have the necessary energy to go out there and convince everyone they know personally and professionally that they are enough,” he says.
Forrest shares his five keys for developing a strong team:
1. It starts at the beginning.
Rather than hiring based on intuition and the candidate’s experience level, evaluate a person’s likelihood of fitting in with the company culture. Add measurable factors — such as third-party testing and group interviews — to the hiring process.
2. Teach success from the outset.
People panic when they don’t succeed or don’t know how to win. Show them how to be successful at their jobs from the very start.
3. Believe in your team.
Lead them and be a support system for them, but also allow them to make mistakes. Let them do their jobs on their own so they can master them.
4. Emphasize accountability.
Even though you are allowing them to do their jobs independently, remember that weekly or monthly coaching goes a long way.
5. Voice your values.
Forrest Performance Group’s values are accountability, trust, dialogue, excellence and drive. Forrest’s goal is to have a company people want to be a part of, and he accomplishes this by incorporating the company’s values at all stages.
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