Building a successful startup team is like finding inspiration in unlikely places. Start a band or a community…they have a lot in common.
A startup team can feel a lot like starting a band or building a community. Although the concepts may seem very different, you’ll find that they have a lot in common if you dig deeper. Being a successful entrepreneur is often tied to finding inspiration in unlikely places.
Two phases are required to build a winning startup team.
Phase 1 of this process is about creating a group of people you know the best. You can reach out to others who have worked together before. Have a clear vision as founders. Recognize that you want to work with people you trust and know.
Take the advice of venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, who wrote The Hard Truth About Hard Things: Building A Business When There Aren’t Any Easy Answers. If you “[take] care of the People, the Products, and the Profits — in that order,” you would have a professional, stable, and dedicated team to accomplish the mission. Having worked together before, you know you could persevere through the challenges, wins, failures, and ups of building technology.
Once the company has reached acceleration, Phase 2 begins.
This is the time to open the company up for new ideas and people. You can bring on new leaders who can see the world a bit differently, challenge you, and all the while share your vision and work in harmony with your founding team.
Build Your Own Startup Team Like a Rock Band
Recently, someone compared building a winning team with putting together a rock band. It’s an excellent metaphor!
Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters frontman, said that “there is nothing quite like the energy and atmosphere created by live music.” It’s the most life-affirming thing you can do. The music is electric, the lights are bright, and the energy of the crowd is contagious. They then feed off it, and so the band rises to new heights.
This is also true for a startup team that works well together. It’s possible to create a group that shares the same values and is willing to perform their respective roles. Your CTO, or head of production, is like a drummer who drums. Guitarists play and singers sing. It’s up to you to make sure they’re the rock stars in their arena.
Alex Churchill, a musician-turned-CEO, put it best. He said that bands always hire according to values. They’re in sync with each other. Once the person looks and feels right, the person can then get up and start to jam with the band.
“We Built This City”
You can learn a lot from engineers and architects as you progress to Phase 2 acceleration. Every design is grounded to ensure that all moving parts work together.
You can use a similar approach to build a winning startup team.
Focusing on Neighborhoods: Convert your founder’s vision to short-term, realistic, and scalable goals. Each team member can assume a different role and use their talents, knowledge, and aptitude to meet specific targets.
Avoiding Chaos: Interconnected startups need to be designed for flexibility and, ultimately, fruition. Although chaos is good for innovation, it’s crucial to avoid chaotic situations where people waste their energy or don’t use their talents fully. If they don’t, team members may feel lost in a maze and not as drivers in a car that can see where they are going.
Implementing Support Architecture: Whether you face unexpected setbacks, delays in product development, or financial difficulties, your team will always have your back. People will trust your vision and not lose heart. They’ll work twice as hard to get there. Road construction? All passengers can take the metro or subway.
We wanted to create a team of people who showed:
- Talent and were goal-oriented.
- Friendly and easy to get along with.
- Were team players who shared our vision.
- Acceptance of responsibility for their tasks.
We wanted the experience to be fun, but we had to create a team that could understand that even the most enjoyable business ventures need to be profitable.
New Startup Team Heights
It’s not the “A-level” team that creates a city’s foundation. It’s the people who follow them that make the vision come to life. It would help if you had great thinkers, skilled communicators, and collaborators who know what it takes for a team to succeed.
This second phase team should not be considered “B-level.”
In other words, city planners focus on the ground-level logistics of power grids, transportation, and livability. Entrepreneurs find the elements that bring people together. You want to continue to attract top-notch people to your company and help you take your vision and enterprise to the next level. Your team can then help you with the concrete, steel, and wood that will take your dreams to new heights.
Passionate Individuals with a Shared Goal
Andrew Carnegie once stated that “teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision and the ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational goals.” It’s the fuel that allows people to achieve uncommon results.
A team of dedicated individuals working together towards a shared vision and goal is the foundation of every successful startup team. You’ll likely end up with the idea that it isn’t going anywhere if you don’t have a team of passionate people. Let’s get creative building and working together with solid teams!