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Building Teams that Last
2 min read

Building Teams that Last

The first skill to learn as an entrepreneur is to identify opportunities and get the timing right - know where the puck is moving towards and be able to position a product at the destination.

The second skill to learn is to be able to build the product.

The third vital skill is to be able to sell the product.

What is often missed in these steps is the unsaid skill - of being able to put together a stellar team that can build not just the product, but the org to be able to achieve scale.

The pandemic is having some subtle shifts - along with some of the bigger trends that are unveiling. Going remote means, teams aren't around each other - and most importantly around the founding team to build values, culture and skills through osmosis.

While thinking through this along with an entrepreneur, it occurred to me that entrepreneurs need to be looking for fit not just in terms of skillsets but so much more now.

Hierarchy of Commonality to Build Relationships

If you are not able to build a relationship with each of the team members, chances are they will not stay for long. The exit might be sooner, especially if they are talented.

One of the questions that I mentor often nudges me to ask when I am evaluating a business relationship is "Would you want to have dinner with this person, if not for work?" and sometimes he mixes it up with, "Would you have this person along with you on vacation?"

When looking at a candidate, you have to start with shared habits. You might be an early riser, but are they a night owl? It is not a deal-breaker, but it does create some friction. You and the entire company might be using google docs to collaborate whereas there is this one person who still uses MS Word and keeps emailing attachments to everyone. It is not a deal-breaker, but it can get annoying very soon.

One way to deal with habits that are triggering is to lay it out there - acknowledge it and have an agreed-upon protocol around it.

The next to follow is shared values - and this is important because if you don't align on values, it is hard to trust that person. There are several assessment tools.- and even games that are created to be able to use in interviews (will feel like ice breakers) where you can get a sense of the values of the person.

In an ideal world, everyone would like to be the best version of humanity. The question is what happens when push comes to shove - what are the ideals they'd guard (and sacrifice comfort) and what are the ideals they'd abandon. Those are important answers to know about your core team, and more so about your co-founder.

Shared Interests tell you a lot about where the person's growth would be in the next 5- 10 years.

The aspect of shared passion, tells you a bit about how committed you are and gives an assurance about the future. If you love something and you get to do it at work (in the way you like), chances are, they are going to stick around.

It is hard to expect shared commitments from anyone other than your founding team members. Maybe no one else is as committed as you are (they care, just not committed to that level) and that is quite normal. You'll only be disappointed if you expect everyone to be as committed as you are to the problem you are trying to solve. In the blue moon chance that you do find someone who is as committed as you are, don't let them get away.

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