Assembling my thoughts to write an entrepreneurial personal story again this week, my mind began to drift to news items I’ve read and heard over the past several days.
I found my thoughts bringing me back to another favourite topic of mine, that of the meaning of entrepreneurial teams and their impact on our world.
Let me open your mind to new thoughts perhaps of how genuine team formation beyond sports and recreation can impact your life, our business community and the economy of our region and province.
I bring back to you the old Chinese proverb it is difficult to clap with one hand, which appropriately opens our reflection on entrepreneurial teams.
For the past 15 years, team entrepreneurship has received increased attention as a body of research suggesting that fast growth firms are more likely to have been founded by entrepreneurial teams.
Much of my own research over the years has supported the idea that a new entrepreneurial venture creation process is quite often precipitated by a team of entrepreneurially-minded people rather than the individual zealot.
An entrepreneurial team may be defined as two or more individuals who jointly envisage a business opportunity and thus consensually create a new venture in which they have a personal and financial interest.
After dabbling in this team thought model, I wanted to remind all of us of the importance and direct relevance of entrepreneurial leadership in this same context and how important this ingredient is to creating the greater entrepreneurial mindset.
For an entrepreneurial leader, building a great team is crucial to successful launch and growth of a new venture.
Early stage teams without such substantive leadership never seem to have the complete recipe of skills need to take a perceived business opportunity along its desired path.
So let’s get daring and get into some key questions and comments regarding the creation of an entrepreneurial team.
Let’s identify what skills do we need? How do we find, attract and engage the best talent for our new venture? And how do we motivate, lead and retain the created team toward our version of successful victory?
Let me explain that entrepreneurial leaders are distinguished from other managers by their personal practices.
Such practices I suggest to you fall into three categories—setting the entrepreneurial work climate; orchestrating the venture opportunity; and moving the new venture or ventures personally in a forward motion.
Getting strategic in deciding what skills we need to make our dream venture become a reality is a great beginning to team creation.
For example, what will make your new venture standout from the perceived competition?
What capabilities will be crucial to your success?
What skills must you have on your team to achieve your goals, to create value and, of course, to protect that newly created value?
More simple put, you need to design through a great strategy a targeted culture for the new venture, one that will make your prospective team members easily able to commit and dedicate themselves in seeing your dream become realizable.
And that also speaks to becoming tactical, meaning to get your wonder team together and build a specification or a list of responsibilities for each key position in your new venture structure.
Assess how well the collective talent you have assembled matches up with what you will need to succeed in the early stages of your venture launch.
Then I would suggest that you strive to get the best. Depending on the stage of your venture and how much money you can and wish to spend, your approach to finding the right team candidates may vary.
You will need to be proactive and aggressive while you are evaluating a potential team membership for this is your “dream machine” that you are creating.
Appeal to your team candidates desire to win and appeal to not only their technical skills and experience, but their values and cultural beliefs as well.
Two more ingredients make up my recommended team recipe for this week.
Get the most means taking a personal role in motivating and retaining this wonderous team you have created—that’s your job as the entrepreneurial leader in your new exciting venture creation.
The way that you lead your team will be the most important factor.
Share your vision and be open about the challenge. Share your entrepreneurial passion and demonstrate your determination.
Much has been written the world over about passion reigning supreme over the venture process and success curve.
Teach and mentor, share your talents and perhaps, most important of all demonstrate humility.
You will want to hear clearly and unmistakably what your new team may be telling you.
Finally, and this is a hard one for many of us serial entrepreneurs—get tough.
Try your best to objectively evaluate each team member annually and update their list of responsibilities.
Hold your people accountable where warranted. It’s really not that hard to know when you may need to change some element within your core team, but it is very hard to decide to actually do it.
I have had to during some of the periods of my entrepreneurial life and the decisions remained with me for a time after.
Not enjoyable, but necessary, I can assure you.
Forgive yourself, people, and move on to achieve your entrepreneurial dream. You will be amazed at the inner joy leading a successfully structured team brings to your life, to those around you and to your business venture.