What it takes to create a winning team in your startupUdhaya Krishna
The success of any startup, or any business for that matter, depends on one factor. The people. Without them believing in your organisation’s vision, no progress will happen. And usually management studies recommend motivating people to believe in your vision.
Does this mean that all you need is to pay them more, give them fancy gadgets, offer them Esops etc?
Then even after getting all the money and perks,why do people leave organisations? This is one thing that often organizations don’t understand.
See, motivation changes from time to time. And it is not money or fancy stuff that always interests people. Then, what is that one thing that makes people believe in you, and stand by you all the way?
Answer to that question is basic zoology.
We all know how a pack of animals operates. For each pack there is an Alpha who commands everything. Alphas get all the attention, all the food and all the responsibility when it comes to pack’s safety. But the Alpha is always being challenged by other aspiring ones. Here challenge means real blood. They fight and decide the Alpha. The loser will leave the pack or move somewhere down in the line of command.
We humans are still very close to the animal kingdom. We all possess the Alpha mentality. The only difference is that we have an additional sense- that helps us decide.
So, to make people feel ownership of anything, make them feel like an Alpha in their field. Let them make some killing, let them get some attention. Make them feel alive in the pack and don’t make them feel as if they are a work-churning machine.
What does it take to make everyone feel like an Alpha and run the pack without chaos? Here are few things you can do.
Mark clear boundaries :
There should be real boundaries,but without limiting the action of your team. Everybody has the freedom to roam around but without disturbing the other person. The moment someone crosses the boundary then there will be bloodshed.
One tip: As an Alpha of your organisation you can purposefully let people cross the boundary sometimes, because this can lead to extraordinary innovations.
Give autonomy :
Tell people your expectation clearly and leave them alone. Humans perform well when they are not watched. The moment you watch them, you can expect two kinds of reactions -one, they may start acting like they are working, or two, they may simply start to feel awkward in the situation. Autonomy is where people learn from experience firsthand and this will help the person and the pack immensely more than keeping a watch on them.
Have pack gatherings :
When I say gatherings, it is not the business meetings.
Induce a culture where everyone in the organisation will meet a few times a day. This will help everyone understand what the other person is up to emotionally. If there is a person who feels down, everybody will be able to take the cue, and address the need sooner, before it can become the pack’s issue. Afterall, we are depending on each other when it comes to survival.
Make play a ritual :
When you have 10-15 Alphas in the same room there will always be tension building up unconsciously. And if you are making them sit together with that build-up you can expect a fight soon. So you need to let your team engage in play to release that tension. Play is something that needs to be competitive where people get a chance to dominate. But as a pack leader you need to have an eye on the weak one who is not able to dominate and help them do that. Else they will feel weaker and leave the pack.
Nurture young adults:
Young Adults have nothing to do with the age. And everything to do with the behaviour. There will be these curious members who will always try to challenge everything and take control of it. Because they instinctively feel they can lead the pack. Nurture those members in your organisation but keep an eye on them because sometimes amateurly they will cross the boundary and challenge needlessly. If something like that happens, explain to them the right times, places and ways to challenge.
Hunt on purpose, just for a member :
Every member in the pack will have a purpose which is very important in their lives, help them. After all, the only way you can live in a pack is by helping each pack member achieve what they are inspired to achieve.
This can be anything from a very small wish to life's important events. The moment the members feel safe around this pack they will stick to the pack and do whatever the pack needs.
Understand and protect the Beta:
What we all want is a lot of Alphas in a pack so we can make more killing and live life happily. But there will be Betas in the pack as well. These are the people who never challenge anyone. They are the people with more parental instincts. As an Alpha it is very important to protect these Betas from being intimidated by other Alphas. Because they will never stand up for themselves. But they are the people who will be really helping your pack to achieve.
Understanding the mentality of human instincts will help you solve a lot of problems. I have found that if you run your organisation, you will have the chance to be an Alpha as well as a Beta. All the more better, because this can definitely help you understand your pack.
There are people who don’t give the Alphas the nurturing they need and ignore the Betas because they are not pushy enough. And after this, the same people complain that their employees or those working under them don’t understand their requirements. But if you understand the pack’s nature, you can communicate in a way that would help the whole pack.