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The People: First, Always, Forever
The People: this is the most impactful and never changing factor of every single organization. Therefore we expect you to take the matter to heart and very seriously. Consider the cohesion within the team, the culture and the hiring process as three inter-connected pillars that you should never leave aside.
Make sure there is a real and honest cohesion between your team members. Founders and early employees fighting against each other only creates a recipe for disaster leading to a poisonous environment for too many startups and is one of the main causes we see of startups failing. Do not allow anger of frustration pile up, let no feelings go untold. Speak the truth early and often.
Make sure that everyone knows where they stand within the organization and more importantly that they accept all the responsibilities of their position and the position others’ within the whole.
There is only one CEO, even in a partnership. The CEO should be the person who shows the most leadership and has the ability to drive the organization and the vision it holds. Side note: no one is born a leader, all leaders must learn to manage and the first thing you should read is this: High Output Management by Andy Grove
Everyone should have clear tasks and responsibilities assigned. You can share tasks but not responsibilities with others. Don’t confuse communication + advice with interference + intrusion.
Building a successful venture is an ambitious and a difficult mission. Culture is the common denominator that everyone can rely on when the company is coping with an uncertain future. It is motivation itself for the people striving to find a purpose in their professional environment.
Culture has nothing to do with free soda, casual Friday or a bi-monthly get together: those are perks. Culture is a lot more: it’s about the people, the customers. Please take the time out to read beginning to end of this book:
The basic rule of hiring is: hire well & fire fast. You won’t become a hiring rockstars overnight but you can learn the process pretty quickly and recover from mistakes. It is not complicated once you are disciplined and apply simple rules like the one stated in this book:
Who: The A methods for hiring >> Thanks to this book, one of our portfolio companies went from knowing nothing about recruiting to screening more than 200 candidates, passing 60 calls, interviewing 15 people and hiring two of them within only three weeks!
Look at the best practices depending on where you live, don’t be afraid to ask other founders. Don’t fall into the “Too Little, Too Late” Syndrome, where you think about compensating someone when it’s too late because he/she has just/already decided to quit.
We’re lucky to have founders who have worked hard to build a compensation set that will allow you to build an organisation that everyone understands internally. Use those two templates accordingly.
Treat your people with love and respect.