March 29, 2011
The third reality of a sustainable startup is one of common ground. After identifying the expectations you placed on a situation in your reality and then the expectations of others when trapped in their reality you are able to find where there was misalignment in expectations and reality.
Each reality seems right for those experiencing them. Your thoughts, emotions and rationalizations are all correct for you as you see them. This applies as well for others who are trapped within their own realities. For them how they see the situation around them is true. Every emotion, every thought and expectation is their unique view of the situation.
The purpose of the five questions found in each reality is to help accomplish two things. First to separate the emotion of your reality, or others realities from the expectations placed on yourself and others in the situation. Secondly these questions are used to create the foundations of alignment within your startup. To do this however there are a few steps that we have found worked best for us.
1) List the goals of the situation:
With your team gathered, write down the goals you had been hoping to hit or the expectations you had in the situation. Once everything is out in the open you are able to do the following:
2) List what are the 3 most important things that need to get done to achieve our goals and who is responsible for each:
By narrowing the field of goals down to just the three most important you accomplish two things: First, you rid yourself of the excess goals that you and your team have just decided are not as important to the end goal as the others. Secondly you create alignment within your team by saying “these are the goals we’re working towards, and we all decided their importance.”
3) List how you know the 3 most important things are done:
Now that you’ve taken the time to examine what is and isn’t in your control, and what goals are truly relevant to the situation, you have to measure them. The important step here is to measure these goals, and what you are doing to achieve them on a weekly basis, while being completely honest. Often we want to exaggerate our progress but it is important that team members push back when an answer is given to find the reasoning.
I will be speaking in a webinar this thursday (March 31) about Valuations in Startups, hope you can make it.