Who's Got Your Back?

The Importance of Team:

The main factor that affects how we feel about our workplace is the team we work with. This includes our peers, our juniors (i.e. those who report to us) and our seniors (i.e. the ones we report to). Imagine working in an organisation where we feel completely out of sync with the rest of our team. If this were so, it is highly likely that we would be listless and lifeless by the end of the workday. This would hold true whether you work for someone, or are an entrepreneur. In fact, it would be doubly important to have a team that works well together in a start-up, as the success of the venture could likely depend on it.
When you attempt to build an enterprise, keeping it simple is best. This is true for selecting your teammates too.

1) Pre-existing relationships: 

Whatever relationship you have with your start-up colleagues (spouse, friend, family, acquaintance, coworker) should be considered null and void. Being co-workers in the core team of a young start-up is usually neither easy, nor comfortable, unless boundaries are set and adhered to clearly.

2) Note to self:

Read Point 1 again, and take it very seriously. You might be the exception that proves the rule, but more likely not.

3) Would you trust them to watch your baby?

 Would you trust them to watch your most prized possession? If so, for how long?. If you think they are likely to (figuratively) drop your baby on its head when you're not looking, take a second look at being business associates with them, in any and all capacities.

Imagining how someone would behave if entrusted with your most valuable thing (or person) not only gives us a clearer idea of our understanding of them and our view of how they work, but can also help bring to light half-buried prejudices that may later cause serious friction in your team. It's better to be cynical and safe than sorry.

4) Would you trust them to prioritise company needs over (unimportant) personal needs?

Would they be likely to prioritise social media updates over work? More importantly, do you trust that they would be committed to getting their assigned work done? If the answers are no and no, something needs to change, immediately.

5) Would you try to behave with respect and decency towards them even in the midst of a heated argument?

This question is very, very important. If we are likely to resort to underhanded tactics, juvenile behaviour, or name-calling when having a difference of opinion with someone, the we should not be part of their team!
 
These questions are some that first-time entrepreneurs are likely to skirt around, consciously or unconsciously. This is especially likely because the process of starting up a dream venture is new, exciting and all-consuming. However, these tough questions, and similar ones can help get the ball rolling on deciding whom to chose to be part of your team (or to choose the team you want to belong to!).

Granted, getting a team that performs well together is no mean feat, and requires a healthy dash of luck, combined with perseverance. Nevertheless, taking that little extra bit of time and effort can definitely bring in great rewards once a start-up begins to grow.


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