There is so much talk in the world about the life span of a startup and how high the chances of failure are. These are all important bits of information that should help entrepreneurs focus on achieving their goals. While I do come across a lot of articles about teams in business for startups, i rarely come across articles about startup teams. the key to success when you work is to have great synergy…to work for the same goals in your individuality.
So you and your friends have come together to make that beautiful idea come to life. You have decided to pool your resources, your time, effort, skills and money for those who have it. unlike cases where there is one individual responsible for the startup, startup teams while generally having shared responsibility can be a lot harder this is for several reasons including the fact that decisions may take a lot more time because there is consultation needed; and you can’t bully any one into working harder. You are all equal. And seeing as this is not animal farm, no one is more equal than others.
Achieving synergy is in my view the most important thing for startup teams for progress to be achieved. Everyone has to be on the same page or you will all be stuck tugging in different directions. there are two questions to begin with that i think a startup team should ask each other and even document if possible so as to help each other achieve Startup success:
What does each individual want to achieve personally?
In my first startup venture the mistake we made was not finding out what we our personal goals were. This is an important thing to know, what your team – mates goals are, especially with regards to your startup project. It is good to know where each individual hopes the project will place them.
Up until you ask this question what you know is that everyone agrees that the startup is a good idea with financial feasibility. Knowing what each individual wants to achieve or wants to become through the project will help you to help each other achieve these things while achieving the startups goals. It will also make sure that you factor out the achievement of these goals into the determinants of success of your startup. Helping each member grow should also be a priority.
What do you think the business should achieve? / What do you want the Startup to achieve?
Obviously in agreeing to be part of a startup team each member has implicitly decided that they believe it can achieve its ultimate objective. True as that may be, any startup concern has secondary goals that it achieves on the way to achieving the ultimate goal. This is where clarity is needed.
The individuals that make up the team are just that: Individuals. This means that their backgrounds (academic and other), aspirations and goals (question1) determine their hierarchy of the company’s secondary goal and will determine when they decide to put in more effort.
Even though all the goals will be achieved in the end, knowing them and discussing them will bring more efficiency to your startup. In our first startup we never discussed this and it reduced our efficiency. Yes we achieved our goals, but at a slower pace than had we been on the same page. I noticed that instead of us being a synergy each member was most effective when jolted into action by the need for work that would achieve his goals and what they thought were the main goals of the organization.
while selfish feels like a harsh word to use seeing as they were achieving the startup goals with their actions, it was a clear indicator that startup team leaders should try to take advantage of the inherent selfish nature of human beings and plan the organization goals and activities based on this knowledge.
Creating the hierarchy of secondary company goals together is also a good way to help the startup so that no member of the team feels like their goals are being sidelined, and it is also a good way to ensure that everyone understands the importance of ALL the company goals, regardless of whether they fall within personal views of major goals.
Communicating is important and one cannot assume that because everyone wants the startup to succeed then they are automatically in sync. Those two questions need to be answered and strategy built around them.
So ask those two questions. You may think you are in sync but you will be surprised. The good thing is that a way forward can be forged when you have the answers.