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Building the Right Team for Your Startup

Posted by Carmen Mabee on May 29, 2019 9:13:27 AM

Building a strong, cohesive team and cultivating the right company culture is crucial for the success of your startup and its future. But what does this mean, and what does this look like in action?

We are in week 4 of our accelerator program and are starting to dig deeper into what it means to build the right team and develop an efficient company culture f

or your startup needs. We have had an amazing group of mentors stop by to share their experiences with this process and so we're sharing are the highlights. 


What is Culture?

What culture is not: beer on Fridays or an office ping pong table.

Culture is how your team works together and aligns. It consists of the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that employees share and use on a daily basis within their work.

It is up to the founder to define a company’s culture from day one.


Start by brainstorming your vision, mission, strategy, culture, and values

Vision: Aspirations for the future that the team can create.

Mission: Purpose for existing.

Strategy: Th secret sauce - this is the primary approach to navigating the competitive landscape with the end goal of creating a defensible moat around your ideas and goals.

Culture: How the team works together.

Values: How the team makes decisions.

Working through this process from the beginning will inform both founders and the team on who should be hired and what the company should be looking for in potential new team members. Taking the time to ask the important questions is crucial to ensuring the company is efficient and effective at tackling any problem that comes your way.


Hiring is one of the the most important roles a founder has

Hiring the right people is essential to the growth and development of a company. The right people will not only get behind your mission and vision, but also advance and evolve that mindset, furthering the success of a company.

Exercise egoless leadership in the hiring process. Founders should evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in order to zero-in on the needs of the company.  This self-reflection enables a company to  hire people that are smarter than the founders in the areas the company needs them to be.

Startup founders should never hire someone that knows less about the position than the founders themselves. Do not hire people to tell them what to do; instead, let the right people tell you what you need to do.


There are Two Groups of Hires to Think About

Core Leadership:

These people lead the company and build supporting teams and, as such, should be the priority in hiring. But it's not always easy as the best candidates will most likely already be employed. Often, founders will have to convince them to join the team. Honesty can get you a long way in this effort - be open about the company's weaknesses and where their expertise could create impact.

Using professional networks is a great way to find people, but sometimes won't cut it. Founders shouldn't be afraid to use resources such as Linkedin Recruiter Lite as well as more traditional recruiters.

Pro-Tip: Ask the same questions across all interviews.

If you let each interview take-on its own structure, you risk an uneven distribution of data and information that you need to make your hiring decision. Keep an interview guide handy to easily organize and manage the flow of each interview.

Supporting Team:

The good news is if you hire the right leaders, you shouldn’t have to spend much energy on hiring for support functions. The goal of hiring the right core leadership team is that they will know exactly who is needed to fit the needs of the role.


Remember: Hire Thoughtfully, Slowly, and Take Time to Define the Role




Further Reading:

Principles by Ray Dalio

Measure what Matters by John Doer

Drive by Daniel Pink

Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Topics: Entrepreneurship, startup, teams