Team Building Mysteries

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Based on thousands of cases I can say that startups need to get right people in right places, when growth companies are much more about right processes and execution of the validated business

There is a lot of talk about lean startup and tools like lean canvas and pitching. What is really missing is more talk about the team building in practice.

I have split team building mystery to 3 interconnected areas:

1. Mental
2. Organize
3. Business

How to mentally align the team when there is no strong organization or usually salaries involved at the start of business venture? I have found that here the team leader skills are essential to create a vision, mission, roles and clear ”baby steps” of successfully executed tasks. There will always be difficulties but if these are handled well they just make the team stronger. A startup leader and team member should never neglect this mental process and only think that processes and business plans are enough!

We created during Protomo a set of agreements; shareholder, work, purchase / sales and co-operation. What I can found from web are in my opinion too difficult company based agreements when at the start a team could agree simply as individuals how things will go if a company is founded or startups starts to fly. These pre-agreements should be only 1-2 pages long per agreement and common sense. Maybe the team leader should draft these as easily as lean canvas or PowerPoint presentation? There should be more general models or checklists and support on this issue which creates fundamental trust and conflict management for a startup!

Here are the normal lean startups tools like build-measure-learn cycle. The key here is to monitor and strengthen the team building process at every step of business validation. This is when a good team reflect back to mental and organization of their startup against the business and markets and start the next iteration of team building.

Startup is not only about finding a right business model but it is also about finding a right team who want to work together to create something new to the world!

Kimmo Rouhiainen, Startup Evangelist – 20 years married with startups & talents
These opinions are personal and do not present former, current or future employees or official positions.