Whether its buying a shirt, opening a bank account or hiring someone - each transaction involves a set of individuals that define the final outcome. Last 6 months have seen giants like Google and Twitter tweaking things around to have the right people in charge for the incremental growth. Time will tell if Larry Page and Jack Dorsey are the right guys for respective firms, but the principle that individuals define (drive) the outcomes is clearly evident in both the cases. So how important is it for a young startup to have the right set of people at helm?
Most startups strive to satisfy an unmet need. Some create entirely new services or products while others improve upon existing offerings. No matter whatever a startup does it requires (or is dependent upon) more than a few individuals to execute its vision and fulfill its purpose of being. As the startup moves from a paper idea to execution stage, there are twists and turns in the way - including but not limited to possible changes in product, strategy, market conditions and risks. More often than not it is during these exciting times that most founders are tested for cohesiveness, adaption, agility, flexibility and purpose of being together.
During the initial stages of a startup most likely its the individual with the ‘Vision and Idea’ who drives things. Founders who
are more likely to succeed than others. Where most startups fail is the percolation of vision amongst its core team and identifying the real stakes (stake isn’t material only) for all individuals in the core.
Time and again I have observed individuals failing their firms because the firms were not able to identify correctly the purpose that drives an individual to be a part of the team. The purpose governs the stake an individual has in success or failure of the firm, which in turn governs individuals’ behavior.
It is widely assumed and followed that processes and incentives tend to take care of individuals’ behavior. I am ardent believer in the whole “Process” methodology, but its the people who make the processes’ work rather the other way round. The whole theory of finding & evaluating the purpose of an individual is more relevant for a startup given its lean structure. As pointed out by Jim Collins - “Right People on the Bus” and one way of doing that is identifying and aligning the “Purpose” of your each individual in your team.