How To Build a Winning Team and Hire the Best People With Vamsi Polimetla

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In a world where the best and brightest are in high demand, how do you make sure that you're hiring the right people for your company? 

The world of business is tough; it requires smart decisions and quick action. You need to know what you're doing when making hiring choices for your company because there's no time like the present! Building a team is important in any job, but it is especially important in a corporate job. There is no doubt that the best people can make all the difference in a company. They can help it grow and succeed. Of course, not everyone will need or want to pursue management roles, but understanding how teams operate can still be beneficial. After all, we often find ourselves working collaboratively on projects or initiatives.

So, how do you go about finding and hiring the best people in your company? In this episode, Vamsi Polimetla, the Founder and CEO of Make More Leaders comes to us with a lot of experience and background in building a team in the corporate world.

Read the Full Transcript

Atiba de Souza: Hey, everybody! Welcome to another episode of Build Your Team. You know who I am. I am your host Atiba and I have with me Vamsi Polimetla today. And we're gonna have a really great conversation as always about building your team. And Vamsi comes to us with a lot of experience and background building team in the corporate world.

And we're gonna talk about how some of that translates for you. And as always, we are brought to you by Client Attraction Pros. If you are a business owner and you are ready to level up your business, then video is the answer for you. And we can help you make that fast, easy, and fun.

Atiba de Souza: Hey, Vamsi! Welcome. So great to have you.

Vamsi Polimetla: Hey, Atiba! Great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Atiba de Souza: No. It's my pleasure. Now, we are gonna get started, but I'd be remissed if I didn't share with everyone, what we talked about in a little bit of the pre to this which is you are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I just had awesome experience about a month ago at Primanti Brothers up in Pittsburgh. Man, if y'all, haven't been to — matter of fact, you tell 'em about Primanti Brothers.

Vamsi Polimetla: Absolutely. This is like maybe one of the Pittsburgh only burger shops or sandwich shops you'll ever find like anywhere else. So anytime when you're in Pittsburgh, because this restaurant is not available in any other city. Just like a go experience. It's a different. You'll feel that and you'll retain that memory maybe for the next 10, 20, maybe 30 years.

Atiba de Souza: Yes. That's literally how I feel because now I got two reasons to go back to Pittsburgh; to come see you and go to Primanti Brothers.

Vamsi Polimetla: There you go. There you go. Maybe we can have like our next meeting in Primanti Brothers live.

Atiba de Souza: You know what? I think we can do that. Let's do that for sure. Now I know, but tell the audience, you come from a corporate background. And you've built teams inside of corporations. Okay. Here's my question for you about building a team inside of a corporation. Number one, how did you decide what positions you needed? That's the first question then the second question is, and who should get those positions?

Vamsi Polimetla: Absolutely. Absolutely. Let me give my background a little bit. I think that is going to help everyone, all the audience to understand where I'm coming from. So I'm originally from India. Been living in US for almost like 19 years now. I was in the IT industry for about 23 years. And my first, I would say maybe 10, 12 years, I was in the development side of IT industry. I was like the guy doing the coding behind the desk. Like always trying to make sure all the systems are working good, making sure everybody's happy in the team. That was my role. So after being in that role for some time, management decided I think like I'm ready for the next level, that is going to be managing people.

I got into that role. I was not expecting that. But you know what? I got it. So I'm happy. A lot of people looking for that role, but I got that opportunity immediately. I took it and I was celebrating that victory because that is like one of the things that I never thought like I'll become a manager. But I became a manager and managing people.

First month Atiba, I'm supposed to give a keynote speech. One of my boss told me a couple of days before that, "Hey, we are going to have a town hall meeting. In the town hall meeting, since you are a new manager, you are going to be sharing your vision with your entire team." I said like, "Oh, that's great opportunity."

And at that time, I was really nervous about public speaking and not sure, but I really worked hard like a two complete days and nights to make up that for the presentation. So I was happy, went onto the stage and I saw not just my team members. I saw the entire organization in the town hall and I was expecting 10 to 15 people in the room.

And I saw like maybe almost a hundred people. A hundred plus people in the room. I could not tell what I did until that point properly. Completely bombed on the stage. That moment I felt like a really, really a miserable. Really like a big failure. I came home and I was really dull.

And my intention was, I think like this management gig is not for me. I think I'm really good behind the desk, fixing the stuff and doing the work, but not like maybe the person who can stand on the stage, can control, can just like maybe influence people. Next day morning my intention Atiba, was go and meet my manager and tell him, "Thank you so much for this opportunity. You got a lot of faith in me, but looks like this is not something that I really like, maybe I can do." So I went into the office room and knocked on the door. Very first thing that I heard from my manager was "Vamsi, you did pretty well yesterday." And I was about to tell him "I would have done a lot better. I felt really bad." He said like, "This is just the beginning. You are going to get more opportunities down the road. If you have anything else we can talk. If you wanted to talk about this, this topic is over." So I stepped out from that room and I decided somebody believed in me more than I believed in myself.

Atiba de Souza: Yes.

Vamsi Polimetla: So that was the starting point of my leadership journey. And I started investing into my personal growth. I started going to seminars. I started Toastmasters at that time, this was like almost 12 years ago. Attending those Toastmasters events and started going to every event that is available to my access, like going to Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma, Brendon Burchard, all these people and started investing. And I started like maybe getting better. Like my courage, my confidence, my clarity, everything started going back. To answer your question that was the single point that I was helping people who are reporting to me, "Hey, you have something greatness inside of you. And I can clearly see that you will become that person that I'm thinking about." 

And I started showcasing that. I started creating that environment for that manager who was reporting to me, that leader who was reporting to me. And the moment I saw that, they felt really comfortable making mistakes in their journey, their leadership growth.

And they started failing and I was supporting those failures. And people are just like say, "I think next time I'm not going to be making those mistakes." They're getting better and better—

Atiba de Souza: And better. Yes. 

Vamsi Polimetla: And that is the same principle I started applying when I'm starting, like looking for people. It's not about the skills.

It's not about how many certificates that they have because those things only matter like maybe I would say 20% of the time. 80% of the time, what we do at work is coming from here. So your mindset and how you are thinking, right? So that is, I think like maybe the most important thing in terms of hiring, in terms of everything, what we do, in terms of the growth.

Atiba de Souza: That's such a great point. We talk about that here on this channel a lot that you gotta hire for fit first, right? They've gotta fit the organization and your style and that's your style and they've gotta fit you. Otherwise, it's not gonna be a happy marriage between you and them, right?

Vamsi Polimetla: Hundred percent. Hundred percent. Yeah. Fit is always like the first things. I also would say, success is not just determined by the qualifications that you have or size of your brain. Success is all determined by size of your thinking. What you are thinking right now? No. How you are seeing yourself in the mirror and what you are seeing in that mirror?

That is what like how we can see, especially when it comes to hiring. When it comes to like maybe partnership, we can see, "Oh, this person is doing amazing things down the road." I can feel that. I can see that aura when I'm talking to that person.

Atiba de Souza: Yeah. So, let's dive into seeing that aura when you're talking to the person because in the process of hiring, we put out a job description of some sort. People respond. There may be some communication back and forth via email or whatever platform. Then we schedule an interview.

Maybe you have an interview process. That's one interview. Maybe it's two interviews. Whatever the case may be. How do you get the sense of that aura that this is a person who has the qualities that you're looking for?

Vamsi Polimetla: Absolutely. Absolutely. It is very difficult to assess that in maybe 30 minutes, 90 minute interviews but the best way to do that, like looking to their operating principles. I asked some of the questions, it's not about related to the technology, related to their maybe expertise like they have from the college.

It sounds like a, "What they do on day to day?" Tell me what are the principles that you have? What are the things that non-negotiables in your life.

Atiba de Souza: Yes.

Vamsi Polimetla: We can easily see are they making these things up or it's coming from the heart.

Atiba de Souza: Yes.

Vamsi Polimetla: And what kind of role model that you wanted to become for your case?

Do you want to be the guy-girl who's going to happy hours and just like doing it? Or after the work? Because eight hours is the work if you're working in the corporate. For entrepreneurs like you and I, it's never ending — 24/7. After eight hours, what is your remaining eight hours? Because we sleep for eight hours and we work for eight hours.

What is that remaining eight hours that you are doing to get into that next level as who you are?

Atiba de Souza: Yes.

Vamsi Polimetla: So those are the questions. Those are like maybe digging deep, just like more curious. What do you do if you have maybe all the money in the world? Where would you spend your time? How would you invest that money?

So those are the questions will help. Maybe to see where the person is coming from what they're underlying principles.

Atiba de Souza: Yeah, that's great. One that we ask is, which is right along the lines of what you're saying in an interview is, we ask what are your values? Which is right along there too, because that tells you exactly what they — and I asked them specifically. What are your values for work and outside of work? Your life and personal values.

Here's another one that I heard. I just shared this with you, since we're talking about this. Tell me what you think of this one. I've never used this, so I've heard people use this. If you were to define yourself as an animal, what animal would it be and why?

Vamsi Polimetla: That's powerful.

Atiba de Souza: Yeah. And they say you get a lot of information about how they view themselves. If they choose something that's small and meek, then you get a sense of how they're really viewing their work. I'm a ferocious line that eats everything that in sight, you know? What did you think about that question?

Vamsi Polimetla: That's powerful. I never thought about. I saw a couple of people using, what is your spirit animal? That's like a surface level, but digging into what is that animal and why is I think like definitely a deeper question.

Atiba de Souza: Yeah. Yeah. If you're listening to this and you're hearing us go back and forth and we're talking about questions. The key here is you have to — in order to really get to know somebody and really get to see if they're gonna be a great fit for you — you have to learn to ask better questions. I mean, that's what we're saying. It's about the questions that you ask. Would you agree with that, Vamsi?

Vamsi Polimetla: Hundred percent, a hundred percent. This is something that I learned from one of my mentor, Tony Robbins. The quality of your life depends on the quality of questions that you are asking to yourself. Who am I right now? Like why I'm here? Every person where they are based on what they are committed to. What are the money sitting in your bank account is reflection on what level of commitment that you have on the work that you are doing. Somebody's making like maybe 10 years younger than you. And like maybe they have 10 less skills making 10 times more money. That means that person is committed to something different, something like maybe good than what you committed to.

 Maybe the question that we can ask all the time, " What am I committed to?" What are the things that are holding me back? Asking the questions can help them to reflect.

Atiba de Souza: Yes. We're gonna take that a little bit introspectively and come out of team for a minute there even because it's so true. And Tony Robinson says it so well. When you look at someone else or they have that success and you realize that they're committed to something, it's not just what are they committed to. But the next question needs to be and how do I get committed to that?

What would it take for me to have that level of commitment? It's about how you phrase the question that gives you better answers to yourself.

If you say, "Why am I never committed to anything?" Then your brain will tell you because you're an idiot.

'Cause you're lazy. Right? But if you say, how do I get committed to that? Then your brain will come up with answers to that. Pretty much what you're saying there too.

Vamsi Polimetla: Hundred percent, a hundred percent. I think what you said is gold, Atiba. This is applying back to the previous question that you asked about what are the things that somebody has to look when hiring for a people? This is for maybe you who are watching this, if you're going for that interview, ask the same question.

Who are the people that I'm going to be surrounded with? It's not just like maybe the other person asking you all the time. You start asking because you are going to be dedicating your life to that organization. Maybe part of the life, like you're going to give it to them that you can't get back. So if you're not surrounded with the right people, if you're not surrounded with the people that you are not learning from, it's tough. 

 It's not maybe you're getting only financial benefit, but there are many other things that you are missing. So that's one of the question that maybe you can ask back and see, what is the proximity looks like? What are the qualifications? How is my growth journeys going to be looking like? And where I'm going to be two years from now? Where I'm going to be three years from now?

So listen to your employer. Listen to your HR. Listen to your manager about what is the vision of you like being in that organization and what is their roadmap looks like? So that is going to give you better, better direction to make a decision.

Atiba de Souza: No. Absolutely. That's a great point. That's a great point. So obviously, we've talked a bit about the hiring process. I wanna stay on the question answering or question asking portion of this and that focus if you will because we talked about asking great questions during the hiring process, but does it stop there?

When you were building teams in the corporate world and you found someone. You asked them great questions. You knew that they would be a great fit. And they even had the aptitude to do the tasks that you need 'em to do. And you decided, "Hey, I'm gonna hire you." Do you stop asking questions at that point?

Vamsi Polimetla: No. I think, the next step would be just to create an environment for that person. Create a case study and see how that person can solve that case study. There is no right answer or wrong answer because answering questions, maybe somebody can just listen to this interview and apply for Atiba's maybe chief secretary position and answer all the questions perfect way.

But the way the person is solving that case study can also get us like, "Okay. I think whatever he's saying, he's applying it. He's like walking the talk. I think like he's showing up like a leader. Definitely can fit into our environment." Those are the things can be addressed part of solving some puzzles.

Atiba de Souza: Yeah. No, that's good. That's good. That's good. So in that process of asking questions, even going through the case study and so on and so forth, let's say, you're getting through and you realize "I made a mistake." And I'm sure you've done this. You hired someone and you're like, "I made a mistake." You are not who I thought you were.

How do you deal with that? 

Vamsi Polimetla: It all depends on like the person level of coachability. So I strongly believe leadership is something not inherited, Atiba. It can be designed and developed at any part of the career. You don't have to have a bigger office. You don't have to have 200 people reporting to you.

You can be a leader if you really want it to be. So I try to go into the root and see what makes them like a convert from being a procrastinate person into somebody who can just start saying yes and start like making actions towards the destination.

Depends on like the person's coachability. I know not everybody's going to be the great in the beginning, but if we provide a container and we create that environment, anyone can be great leader. Nobody wanted to get up in the morning and say, "Hey, I wanted to have a lousy day today."

Atiba de Souza: Right. Nobody wants that.

Vamsi Polimetla: Yeah, no, nobody. So everyone, when we are born, we all wanted to succeed, but based on like certain things, like a part of our environment, part of like maybe things that are going on in our mind, people act differently. So if you go into that level and try to help them to see the possibilities that person is not seeing, anyone can just become extraordinary. That is like maybe the 0.1% of leadership. Like not many people going to that depth. They say the person is not performing. Okay. Let's put him onto the maintenance program. And after that, let's kick the person out.

Atiba de Souza: Right. Yeah. Yeah. No. That's a really great, great perspective of that. So we started off talking a bit about your background. Been in Pittsburgh for 19 years. But tell us about your company. What do you do? Who is Vamsi?

Vamsi Polimetla: I came out from the corporate about three and a half years ago, and I started an organization called Make More Leaders. So I'm helping people to step into the true leadership. Everyone born great. But most of the time, as I mentioned before, we are playing an average game and we know at one point we are like a really, really high performers.

For example, like me, I came from India, 10,000 miles away. So it takes a lot of courage, lot of like maybe effort to move one person from there to here. And while I was going in the corporate career, I felt like I got stuck in one place. And I felt like maybe everything is tied. Like I can do more.

I wanted to do that — this. But I got stuck. So I help people to get unstuck and show them what is possible for them. Because right now, the way they're operating is like, maybe they're stuck with the mindset. They're only looking things that are in front of them. There are like a million other things that are open if they just step up.

So part of this organization help people to get into their greatness. I will help them to reintroduce their best version to the world.

Atiba de Souza: Wow. That's awesome. That is awesome. And so Vamsi, well, let me ask this question then. Who then is the best person? Who do you love to work with and help them become unstuck?

Vamsi Polimetla: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I can say anyone, but I wanted to be very specific here. People who maybe they're feeling that they have something greatness inside of them. And that they know if somebody like maybe just a help little bit, they're going to just discover themselves and they're going to be doing a lot of a great things in the world.

So those kind of people. People who are ready to take action. Got like a lot of desire, "I really wanted to do something, but I don't know how."

Atiba de Souza: Gotcha. Gotcha. So I gotta ask you, the audience, this question: Is that you?

Vamsi Polimetla: Absolutely.

Atiba de Souza: He just described you. Are you sitting there stuck knowing that you're created for greater than where you are right now? And you're ready to go. Are you ready to go? Then you gotta check out Vamsi. His program is amazing and it will help you and you can reach him at vamsi.coach.

That's vamsi.coach on the internet, on your browser. Go to vamsi.coach. Vamsi, if we were to leave the audience with one thing, I know we've been talking about building team, but you're getting into something that's so also near and dear to my heart, because I love to see people live on passion.

And so many people are stuck, right? So many people are just absolutely stuck whether it is 18 years or so in a corporate job. And just on the hamster wheel. I think you did a video a little while ago, feeling like they're out of time. Right? Whatever it is that has them stuck, what is one thing that you would say to them today? And so that they know you're not stuck and you need to call me.

Vamsi Polimetla: Absolutely. Absolutely. Number one rule is start before you are ready. I want to repeat this again. Start before you are or you think you are ready. Most of the times people think I'm going to be starting this after completing my MBA. I wanted to do this after completing my certification or my kids go to college.

Guess what? Those are like maybe you are buying some time and you are just like a telling excuses to yourself. Start today. This is the moment. Best time to do when you started your career maybe 20 years ago is the second best time is now asking this question. What is possible? And ask the question, what is impossible for me? And aim for that impossible.

Atiba de Souza: Yeah. That's awesome. Vamsi, thank you so much for being here, my friend. This was a great conversation. I'm glad that we were able to connect like this and the next one will be in person in Pittsburgh. All right, at Primanti Brothers with a big old sandwich. I don't know if we're gonna have a lot of time.

Maybe it'll just be a video of us eating.

Vamsi Polimetla: Maybe we'll do that. Yeah. We'll hire a videographer and they'll do it.

Atiba de Souza: Yes.

Vamsi Polimetla: Great meeting you, Atiba.

Atiba de Souza: The pleasure was mine, my friend. All right, everybody. That's vamsi.coach. Go check him out today. Bye bye for now..

Vamsi Polimetla: Bye.

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