Saturday, January 12, 2019

As a Founder, How do you Build your Startup Team?

We have been very strategic in assembling our startup team and it all starts with your cofounder. I have written an answer to previous question about what I was looking for in a cofounder, but in short I wanted someone that had complimentary set of skills and strengths but the same level of commitment that I did to the vision and our partnership. These two factors carry over to the rest of the team as well.
Additionally, we knew there were a few key functional roles (positions) that we would need to support clients and future clients through their entire lifecycle using our product, which included:
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer Success
  • Product (engineering)
We spent some dedicated time thinking not just about what we needed in these roles at that early stage but also about how the roles would evolve. We needed to define the competencies and skills for day 1, but also for day 360 and year 3.
Understanding how the role was likely to evolve allowed us to not only find someone for today, but someone that was most likely able to evolve as the demands of the business dictated new approaches. We were also able to communicate this to candidates and get their commitment that it was something that would still interest them as the role evolved.
This also highlighted the cultural values that we needed from our employees. Curious people that had a growth mindset and were persistent at pushing through obstacles were a few of the factors that emerged for all the roles. I elaborate a little more on our approach to defining this in another answer I provided here.

To see the original question and answers on Quora click here.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Are Remote Teams Less Effective Than Onsite Teams?

Remote teams are not necessarily less effective than onsite teams, but there are unique challenges to managing or being in a remote team.
Before we talk about those unique challenges, it is important to point out that most research on remote workers seem to indicate that they are much more productive than workers coming to an office everyday. Here are a couple links to studies that point to that evidence:
You can google more but an overwhelming amount of evidence points to greater levels of satisfaction and productivity of remote workers.
The downside or challenges of this stem from creating a common culture and creating a sense that you are part of a team. The isolation of working remote can be a challenge to building relationships that are critical to building team trust and establishing a commitment to the larger mission of the team / organization.
Communication technology (Slack, MS Teams, Skype and Zoom) can help keep the flow of communication working well but oftentimes establishing relationships with others occurs in the day to day interactions had around the proverbial water cooler. It is face to face or across the cube that you learn about the unique challenges that people are faced with on a day to day basis in their personal lives or the meaningful relationships they have outside of work. This helps build empathy and understanding that working remote doesn’t often afford.

To see the original Quora question and answer you can click here.

To see more about how Cloverleaf can help you build empathy, understanding and trust in remote teams click here.