Initiating your startup team culture hack is the glue that makes or breaks the success of your startup team. Not a lot of people talk about the importance of startup team culture. Not a lot of people emphasize team culture in business accelerators. Everyone’s too busy hacking away at code or customer discovery or trying to fund a prototype.
Conducting your startup team culture hack should be one of the first building blocks of your startup. Lack of startup team culture is what derails your team down the road. Lack of startup team culture is why funders will jettison founders.
Here’s an initial startup team culture hack to incorporate into your team DNA. Even if you are arbitrarily assigned to a project in an undergraduate or graduate entrepreneurship program. Even if you are down the road in your startup’s new product development, yet continue to be unsuccessful in receiving angel, first or second round funding. Even if you have failed to form a startup team that sticks with you as the CEO.
Startup team culture is created through team leadership, not just an individual’s leadership.
Your team is creating a minimum viable product. At the same time, create a minimum viable leadership strategy. At the same time focus on what’s required to create a minimum viable startup team culture.
Your team should learn to think, function and hack as One. From time to time, give yourselves permission to pass the baton to another team member. Lead when necessary, follow when required.
How comfortable is everyone fluidly leading and following? Hint: this is an applied scientific activity, not something you can achieve by reading a book. Team culture is not something you will notice if your head is buried in a computer screen.
Startup team culture begins by understanding every team member’s collective vision of what that culture means, to them.
- Develop a collective mindset to execute your startup strategy.
- Communicate differences in opinion – make this a habit.
- Explore differences in how to execute strategy, upfront.
Your startup team culture will become more robust than if you continue to ignore the signs and symptoms which will derail your team down the road, when you consider a pivot.
In every startup team I have mentored and coached, the actions they took to discover their team culture upfront made a difference in the outcome of their strategy. They learned the value of creating a solid team, especially when you seek additional team members as you grow and expand.
Entrepreneurship isn’t an academic exercise. Your startup team culture isn’t supposed to resemble a casting call for “The Social Network”®, either.
Put this startup team culture hack into play today. It will solidify your team by engaging everyone. Depending on where we all sit around the table, we see, hear, listen and speak about the same thing, differently.
This startup team culture hack will clear the air, flush out misassumptions and clarify the purpose of your collective strategy.
Interested in learning more? I refer you to the scholarly work Organizational Culture and Leadership, Fourth Edition, by Edgar Schein PhD, emeritus professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. That book resides in my own library. And I’ve read it.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.