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Building Teams for Start Ups!

Posted by on 02 May 2015


We have been running our HR firm for last 3+ years and while we have had ups and downs like any start up, what we have enjoyed doing together is to have lot of fun! I spoke at a Start Up Connect event on the above subject and I reflected from the times we started 3 years ago. The Team Building Blocks for our team were sown much before the launch happened and then over these more than 3 years, we have been able to build a high performing team which takes ownership of its actions. What were these blocks? Let’s look at 7 of them that facilitated the team building process.

  1. Articulate the Values: This becomes the most important element after the Business plan has been blessed. It becomes very critical to brainstorm and lay down the acceptable Values and Behaviour that would guide the teams to conduct in the organization and outside in the market. This could well be called the foundation of the organization. We were very clear from Day one that articulating these would keep the team together as they perform to their best abilities.
  2. Hire the Right People: The core to any business is its people. Hence it is the second most important block towards building high performing teams. As business owners, spend maximum time to hire the best people so that the right spirit and the right character is ingrained in the organization. It is these start up team members who demonstrate the values and thereby become role models. On board them right and inculcate the ownership from day one.
    Set the Expectation: Any team appreciates the fact that they are clearly explained what is expected from them. It is the onus of the leadership team to set realistic targets and then share them with each team member. Expectation setting exercise keeps the end in mind and works towards providing all support in ensuring that the targets are not only met but exceeded too.
    Rigor in Review: Teams love to undergo regular reviews otherwise they lose direction. It becomes pertinent that there is a plan around reviews and as the same time, there is rigor around it. More the review, more the performance. This requires discipline from the leadership and it goes a long way in building the culture of recognizing high performance and at the same time, identifying the non-performers. As the rigor builds up, the bar should be rising too to the expected levels of performance
  3. Timely Recognition: As human beings we all love to be patted on the back. It is important to design robust Reward & Recognition practices and follow them day in day out. The recognition could be monetary or non-monetary. The absence of the same can dry out teams. High performing teams need the fuel to keep delivering. And there is no big reward than a timely recognition. As leaders, we need to do it more often and make equal noise around it!
  4. Continuous Conversations: It helps teams if there is a constant huddling around challenges being faced by the team. No member of a team works in isolation. Hence the conversations and the brainstorming becomes very critical in keeping the team together. It could be about having lunches together. A lot can happen around a table. The best of teams catch over “tea breaks” and have some critical conversations around work and life. That helps.
  5. Celebrating Milestones: High performing teams love challenges. Give them a deadline and they would love to meet them time and again. And when they meet those timelines, an instant celebration leads to camaraderie and bonhomie. Challenges need to become fun. And celebration needs to be infectious. Such occasions or events pull up even low performing teams. So go out and uncork that bottle of champagne as the team hits another of your targets!