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Who you need on your team: how to build the ideal team for your start-up

by | Sep 2, 2019

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A business is only as strong as the people working in it. This is true of any business, but when it comes to a startup, the quality of your staff can have a huge impact on your chances of success. 

While startup founders and entrepreneurs are often idolised for their unique vision and tales of single-handedly building an empire from the ground up, the truth is, successful and viable businesses that last are rarely built alone. 

Having the right people around you is critical to your startup’s success. Research into why startups fail has shown that not having the right team is a major red flag. 

So, how do you build the right team for your startup, and more importantly, how do you get the most out of that team? Find out in this guide to building the ideal team for your startup. 

First, work on yourself

While many entrepreneurs think they need to single-handedly take on every single role in their startup, the reality is, you won’t have every skill you need to run and grow a startup. 

Start by identifying your own strengths and weaknesses. An HBDI® assessment can help you gain insight and understanding into your own capabilities, acknowledging that different tasks require different mental processes and that your own thinking preferences and working style will be better suited to some tasks than others. 

While mastering Whole Brain® Thinking can enable you to stretch your thinking preferences and working style to other quadrants of the Whole Brain® Model, the true power of Whole Brain® Thinking lies in helping businesses get better results by strategically leveraging the full spectrum of thinking styles available. So if you’re a relational thinker, you might consider employing an analytical thinker, allowing you to build a business with a diversity of thinking styles represented. Research has shown that diverse businesses are more effective

While we’re on the topic of diversity, when leading a startup, it pays to be an inclusive leader – someone who not only accepts diversity, but knows how to leverage it. The key to being an inclusive leader lies in understanding how different people prefer to think and being able to communicate and lead these different and diverse perspectives and working styles effectively. This ability to lead effectively and communicate in a way that every team member will understand is especially critical for startup founders, who need to be able to sell people on their vision and keep employees motivated to work hard towards a goal that may not always seem achievable. 

Find out more about being an inclusive leader

Hire people who know how to move fast

To successfully launch a startup, you need to move fast. The fast-paced nature of the startup universe can be daunting, but entrepreneurs need to be decisive, efficient and quick to adapt to a constantly evolving and dynamic environment.  

This is why it’s important to employ a team of action takers – people who can move fast, deal with problems quickly, and get the job done, no matter what’s thrown their way. 

Experimental thinkers – those that sit in the yellow quadrant of the Whole Brain® Model – are generally more inclined to feel comfortable with the fast-paced, high-risk nature of startups. People who prefer experimental thinking tend to be more impulsive, don’t mind surprises and like to ‘move fast and break things’. Their innate curiosity also lends itself to creative thinking and can help startups find innovative solutions to complex problems. 

That being said, people with any kind of thinking style can learn to leverage the power of agile thinking and agile problem-solving. Agile thinking is the ability to switch between thinking styles based on the situation at hand, giving you the ability to look at problems from multiple different angles. Startups require agile thinkers who can anticipate challenges and make intelligent, fast and effective decisions to solve complex problems. 

Hire people who understand people

While customer service can often be overlooked in favour of other areas of the business, such as product design or marketing and sales, having people in your business who understand the importance of customer service is critical. 

People who have a preference for relational thinking tend to be more humanistic and cooperative. They’re often more sensitive to others, have greater interpersonal skills, and have high emotional intelligence. Relational thinkers make great customer service representatives because they understand people, and they know how to put the customer at the heart of everything they do. 

Relational thinkers are also great at working with other people. You might have a diverse team of people with enormously different backgrounds, but hiring team players that understand and get along with one another will ensure a cohesive and cooperative team that functions like a well-oiled machine. 

Hire people with diverse backgrounds

Speaking of diversity, there’s no better way to drive creativity in your startup than employing people with diverse backgrounds. Creativity and innovation is the lifeblood of a startup, and employing cookie-cutter replicas of yourself will only stifle your startup’s ability to innovate. If everyone in the room thinks the same way and has the same ideas, how do you expect to find creative solutions to complex problems, or create innovative products and services that no other business is considering?

Establishing a diverse team also creates balance so you can look at situations from multiple perspectives, ensuring you don’t miss important things that could make or break your business. In the startup world, little mistakes can have big consequences – make sure you’re covering all your blind spots. 

We call this diversity of thought. Having diverse thinking preferences represented in your team will help you create a more effective and productive startup. Diversity of thought leads to better ideas, more effective collaboration and better results.   

How to hire the right people to supercharge your startup

Having the right people in your startup can make or break your business. It’s important to make sure you’re hiring the right people to drive productivity, creativity and innovation.  But the key takeaway is this: a startup’s success lies in employing a diverse team with diverse thinking preferences that you’re able to leverage for business success. Because of this, it often comes down to understanding yourself, understanding your team, and having the tools and strategies in place to leverage your team’s full potential, no matter who they are. 

Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® can help you and your team build skills for better communication and more inclusive leadership, allowing you to leverage all the different thinking styles. If you’re ready to take your startup to the next level, get in touch to find out more. 

Picking the right team for your start-up

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