Photo Credit: PeterOle
The further you are on the startup road to success the more two factors matters: communication & efficiency.
At the beginning of almost every venture group of founders work their assess off to build a product and validate the hypothesis that the product is desirable by the target group. (Un)lucky bastards who manage to go through this phase with just a few scratches and only couple of causalities, go to the next stage: company building. Some outside money might be involved, new people are joining the team and the tension starts to be extreme. Product and growth are the main concerns.
The luckiest of the lucky get obese, addicted to couple of unhealthy substances and after several nervous breakdowns, reach the phase of steady growth and predictable revenue. That’s the business stage. Your company actually gives people jobs, generate money and is not wasting investors precious capital. That’s also the time when your family starts to believe that your little startup thingy is more than a result of a god syndrome and lack of parental love.
I feel as the luckiest of the lucky. UXPin grows, people who are working on web&mobile apps love the tool and express that by regularly subscribing to the service (equals sweet stream of revenue). We become predictable and…literally healthier. I even managed to get rid of the obesity caused by the previous stage.
Now is the time to set foundations for the future. Building a team of people in which founders will be the weakest links (not that we’re bad, we just want to hire people better than us) and the atmosphere will be a rocket fuel. This is exactly the moment in which you will be either hungry of success and crazy efficient or cold dead.
Efficiency of a team in a tech startup is a highly complex problem. Meanders of individual mindsets and interactions between them create hard to understand environment. I wouldn’t dare to theorize on that. Instead, let’s focus on a big picture. We need something general and actionable. Something that will help us on the way. A principle.
A guiding principle of efficiency that helps me is as follows:
There is no team efficiency without good communication. There is no communication between people without common language. There is no common language without common history.
Think about your friends. How long do you know them? How many stories do you share? How many groundbreaking experiences did you have together? Amazing, huh? Common history is a crucial part of a friendship. I bet you and your friends are spending quite some time on telling yourself stories from the past. Your stories.
Now take a look at your team. Do they have common history? Do they have things to talk about?
Demanding 100% focus from people tied to their chairs, banning conversations, treating people as working machines are NOT methods of achieving high level of efficiency. There are efficiency-prevention. You’re punishing people with work and you’re expecting people to work harder? That’s twisted psychology.
Instead of managing through enforced power try to facilitate the making of history.
There’s a reason we’re staying after hours to play video games together. There’s a reason we often eat together. And there’s a reason we like to go for a drink.
To make a history your team needs to have a history.
Simple right? Give efficiency a chance, be a tribe.