Team building is probably the most important and most critical factor to startup success. Yet little is done while companies are early stage to encourage adoption of best practices for team building. We need look no further than the great sports dynasties of the past 2 decades; The New England Patriots, The Golden State Warriors, The Alabama Crimson Tide, The Kentucky Wildcats. Their fans love them and their opponents fear them, but they all share a commonality; they are guided by leaders who make building great teams priority number one.
Every founder wants to build an all-star team. Who wouldn’t want Lebron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant on the same team? In Silicon Valley especially, this can be a bit challenging as everyone is competing for same talent. We encourage our founders not to be afraid to recruit talent outside of Silicon Valley. Regardless of where talent is recruited there are some very basic rules every founder should consider prior to forming an early team:
Team members who handle finances (fundraising, budgeting, compensation) should not display characteristics of greed or selfishness. Money driven organizations have very low morale.
Team members who handle hiring, pay and promotion cannot be consciously or unconsciously biased. Homogeneous teams lack a diversity of thought and experience, and can limit the teams ability to address customers desires and needs. Don’t sell products to groups you are unwilling to hire.
Team members who build the technology should not be completely devoid of empathy. Builders who are completely devoid of empathy tend to build products and services that overlook impacts to humanity.
Founders are the first team members. And as the first team members these three rules should serve as a mirror to ensure that company ethics start from the top down.
The past year has been quite volatile for unicorns due to failures to mitigate greed, bias and lack of empathy early in company culture. Make a commitment today to implement these three basic rules in your startup. Strive not only to become the next unicorn, but a champion unicorn.
42Phi Proverb: “Great teams begin with the great leadership.”