Principle Two – It Takes a Team to Build a Startup

December 14, 2010

The goal is not to bend or change ourselves so we fit the norm; the goal is to find the group in which we are the norm. No matter who we are, no matter what our values or beliefs, our tastes or proclivities, there is an entire culture or subculture out there just like us.

– Simon Sinek

When you look at a lot of different management writing or business news, be it books, blogs, magazines or newspapers there is a strict focus on what we like to think are pretty basic tenets. You’ll see a lot of information on alignment, communication, values and vision, basically these are things that need to be tacitly understood by a group of people, or in other words, your team. While we believe these are integral parts of any startup, as we laid out in Principle 1, we think the drill-down has to be significantly deeper. Not that these values aren’t important, simply that they lay the incredibly significant foundation allowing Principle 2 to carry with it a monumental impact. A team isn’t about finding common ground amongst a group of people, but rather standing on common ground to begin with and using the unique qualities of the individuals to their fullest value.

If you want to truly function as a team, to really live and breathe together, we believe there are 5 significant steps that you need to undertake in your startup.

These 5 steps are:

    1) The Basic Needs of the Individual

    2) Autonomy

    3) Individual Mastery

    4) The Purpose of the Purpose

    5) Guarding the Gate

Principle 2 is all about building on what you’ve gained. It’s about taking the valuable steps in Principle 1, establishing your vision, values and alignment and using them to get the core of the people on your team, or the people you are selecting for your team. Following through the 5 steps of Principle 2 will allow you to drill down deeper with your team, to find deeper connections and create lasting alignment both as a team and as individuals.