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William Lauder’s Team-Building Tactics

The executive chairman reveals what he looks for in an all-star.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 02/08/2013

When it comes to putting together a dream team of top talent, few in the beauty industry can rival the Lauder family. Here, executive chairman William Lauder reveals what he looks for in an all-star.

This story first appeared in the February 8, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

1. IT’S NOT THEM. IT’S YOU
Building a great team takes an extraordinary amount of patience and long-term dedication in cultivating an environment that attracts the best people, retains them and helps them to grow and thrive within the organization. It takes a great deal of focus, dedication and great thinking. You have to create environments that are stimulating and enjoyable to the people who you’re working with, so they look forward to coming to work, and where they see a future for their growth and opportunity and a path to future success.

2. CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

We look for intelligence, curiosity, commitment, motivation, a diversity of thought and background in knowledge and experience. We look for people who are curious in their ability to learn and grow. We look for people with flexibility of thought so they can learn and adapt to new challenges. I’m always looking for someone who is curious, so they fit into what we consider to be a learning organization.

3. NETWORK SOLUTIONS
I’ve met people in so many different places. I once met someone skiing, on the chair lift. We got to know each other by skiing together all afternoon. It’s about networking and getting to know people, understanding who is really good and who you’d like to work with someday, so that when the right opportunity comes along, you can pick up the phone and say, “We’ve always talked about doing this. What do you think?”

4. QUESTION TIME
I need to understand what makes someone tick: What are their ambitions for themselves, regardless of how old they are or their experience. I like to ask people how they got where they are, what their experiences are, what motivates them, what are the points of inflection in their career path. I don’t think that there is any question that is overrated or underrated. It’s not the question that matters. It’s the answer.

5. LET FREEDOM RING

I like to spend a great deal of time [discussing] their passions away from work. It’s a very instructive conversation, to engage someone on what motivates them on their own time. That helps me to understand a lot about their curiosity, willingness to learn and commitment to something which is entirely optional.