Team Work Makes The Dream Work

I’ll say it… working for a startup company is by far the best job in the world. Could you call me out for being bias? Absolutely. With every statement comes an explanation, whether you choose to side with me or not, here it is. And it starts with the value of having a remarkable team.

Working in a startup usually means that the brain child behind the idea has pulled together a team of what he believes will excel in different areas to make the company a force to be reckoned with. This also means the team is based around this persons core values. I think that is pretty neat, and something we often overlook.

The CEO is given the task to choose a family and that is not easy. To be more specific, let’s narrow it down to a tech startup (for my own simplicity sake). In order to properly run a tech startup, you’ll need the guys who live and breathe coding and computers (insert code joke here). These are the guys that will create a VISIBLE and tangible product for the public eye. And then you need the guys who tell the developers how to make this pretty (UI). In order to make it pretty and prove excellent UX, you’ll need the dogfeeders (I really wanted to use this term in here, it is used when members of a company test their own product) and you’ll need the design guys. A product cannot be built with just one of these guys, it takes a team and it takes a team with a powerfully strong dynamic on their side.

My experience working in the startup world has taught me the intrinsic value of understanding your team and their roles within the company. This is important for a number of reasons.

  1. When you’re a startup, you’ll NEVER get it right on the first try (and if you do, well, you must have eaten all of your vegetables growing up..or something). When you are tripping over these initial failures, you’ll need team support to physically pick everyone back up, and get back on the horse. You can’t do this alone (Startups are comparative to really, really, big horses). In order to provide support, you must understand what went wrong, whether it be a coding line fail, or my personal fvourite, a typo (see what I did there?). Big or small, it is important that the entire team understand where the issue emerged, why it happened and how it can be prevented in the future.

  2. Sleep is actually something that the human body requires. Now, I didn’t say that you need to follow Dr. Oz’ guidelines and get a full night’s rest every single night, because let’s face it, in the Startup World it’s just not going to happen. What I’m getting to, is that team members need sleep, and should a fire arise when they’re catching those Z’s, every team member should have the ability to (even if in a small way), put out that fire. I don’t like to admit defeat, but I will say that my coding skills will likely never equate to that of our awesome developers. However, I have taken the initiative to attend courses such as the wonderfully enlightening “Ladies Learning Code” course, to give myself some A. Appreciation for the incredibly detailed and hard work our developers do on a daily basis and B. The ability/skillset to fix small fires, should they arise.

  3. It is important to embrace your team for all their weird, quirky and odd personality traits. If you’ve gotten lucky like I have, you’ve assembled a team of absolutely unique, wonderfully creative, total misfits that combined, make an extremely powerful team dynamic. After all, where is the fun in being average? Get to know your team inside and out, and let the magic happen, the power of diverse minds is not to be underestimated.

If you’ve noticed a communication break in your team's core values, don’t wait for it to figure itself out. Set up weekly team meetings, check in on your team members and remind them daily that a startup runs like a car, and without the essential pieces, well, you’re out of luck.

For the sake of pulling this rant together, i'll refer back to my initial argument (startups are the best jobs, ever,ever,ever) and conclude by saying that it is the people involved in startups that make working for a startup the very best.

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Erin A. Flood