Building the right team in any startup is hard. People have high ideals on how to build that utopian team, but when they get down to making it, many fail. It is not that they do not have the desire to create a more efficient workplace, rather that they do not know how to step away from their previous work experiences. Experiences that are largely based on static hierarchies that served companies well... 30 years ago. Google, for example, has proven that in the information age, we must do things differently. These are some of my key notes from Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg's "How Google Works":
- HR -> must hire more “smart creatives”… we do not need people who have a proven track record in other companies (yes it would be nice), but what we need most are people who somehow are able to innovate something that aids the entire team and product.
- Do not make just 1 person hire everyone. Everyone must be involved in the process.
Do not allow recruiters to recruit for you. People who ultimately recruit should be the people who are building the team, which is everyone.
- Decision making => power must be spread, and information must be shared. This is the key to being efficient, and to bringing “smart creatives” to our company. They will come not because of money but because they see the ability for them to use their creativity and intelligence to make new processes and strategies. They need to be well prepared once at the company to be able to do this, and that means they have to have a) power to change things when needed and b) required information to make correct decisions.
- Consensus-driven approach does not mean that we all have to agree on the decision. It means that:
- Everyone is heard
- Rally around the “best” answer => most rational? need reasons then to prove this is the best answer
- People need to care about where they work => this is too important a thing to ignore. People need to made to feel like this is “our” team, not just a few people’s teams. This is the way that you can encourage “smart creatives” to use their talents to innovate. You cannot force someone to really “innovative” but you can encourage them into innovation.
- Build leaders => these days I am really trying to think about why leaders are important. I guess the idea is that it is these leaders that will allow us to expand quickly. If these leaders are a) committed to the team, b) understand the product well, and c) have strong sense of leadership then they will have their respective teams going in the wrong direction (even as the team fails time and time again).
- Build strategy foundations, not full-blown MBA strategies => You cannot predict what will happen. You cannot tell people to just follow your strategy as you planned. Allow them to make intelligent and informed changes as the unexpected occurs.
- When Jonathan arrived at Google, one of his first work products was such a plan. Larry page said that the plan was “stupid” => I know Jonathan’s feelings too well
- Set unattainable goals => fail well… learn something that can be used for the entire team, or attain something that is beneficial to the team in some way, even if it was not your ultimate goal