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The Contribution Culture How to Assemble a Team of Initiators Powered by
“The people who make the biggest difference are the people who find their own problems to solve and solve them without you telling them to.” - Daniel Chait, Co-Founder & CEO of Greenhouse
This presentation consists of insights inspired by 33voices® interviews with Jenna Abdou.
Table of Contents Jeffrey Wald, Work Market Page 4 Arian Radmand, CoachUp Page 11 Mike Townsend, HomeHero Page 17 Brittany Hodak, Zinepak Page 21 Munjal Shah, Health IQ Page 23 Paul Berry, Rebelmouse Page 30 Liz Wessel, Campus Job Page 34 Credits Page 36
Jeffrey Wald Co-Founder and President of Work Market @jeffreywald
Understand the Three Phases of Startup Culture and lead your team based on where your organization is right now.
Phase One: Cowboy execution: Everyone is doing everything (including eating pizza) until sunrise.
“Phase one people...There’s something a little bit wrong with them. They aren’t wearing shoes all the time. They don’t shower for a few days. They are brilliant in a very unstructured way. I miss those people. You go to war with those people.”
Phase Two: Organizational processes are established. No one, especially individuals from Phase One, follows them.
Phase Three: The company is too large not be guided by policies and procedures. A group of team members emerges to dictate culture.
“We are building this company to an outcome and that outcome is the most powerful, driving force towards culture.”
Arian Radmand Co-Founder and CTO of CoachUp @aradmand
Focus on outcomes, not tasks. As a founder, it’s your responsibility that everyone has a clear understanding of the team’s high level goals. Make it a priority to recognize how each individual brings you closer to them.
“Outcomes are more important than just working in your role. Individuals have a great degree of freedom to contribute in any way they feel necessary to achieve the desired result.”
Implement a bi-weekly meeting where your CEO shares the major initiatives the team is focused on.
Adopt CoachUp’s ‘Smart Autonomy’ approach. Once everyone on the team understands the organization’s implicit goals, leave it up to them to figure out how to get things done.
Use ‘Smart Autonomy’ to lead each division of your company. When it comes to engineering, have an end of the week meeting where team members share updates as well as new ideas, resources, and tools that drive productivity. This is how you’ll make necessary changes in your processes.
Mike Townsend Co-Founder and COO of HomeHero @mikettownsend
Define your culture in explicit terms. HomeHero’s mantra is: “Dream it. Plan it. Do it.”
Cross functional and collaborative creativity doesn’t happen on its own. Split your team into “Idea Teams” every week.
To assemble an Idea Team, bring together three team members from different departments and encourage them to spend 45 minutes sharing what they’re working on, the challenges they’re facing, and creative apps/hacks they use to work smarter. Create new teams each week.
Brittany Hodak Co-Founder of ZinePak @brittanyhodak
Hold town hall meetings specifically for brainstorming. “Innovation and improved efficiencies can come from anywhere. At a startup, it’s critical that all employees feel empowered to share their ideas.”
Munjal Shah Co-Founder and CEO of Health IQ @munjalshah
Avoid using titles to describe team members. Instead, promote cohesive involvement by saying: “You’re in charge of this. You make it happen.”
“I don’t care if you’re an engineer or a product manager, we cross things over and make them happen.”
Always choose ‘Yes and’ not ‘No, but.’
Always choose ‘Yes and’ not ‘No, but.’ ‘Yes and’ validates individuals’ contributions and encourages them to open up.
Always choose ‘Yes and’ not ‘No, but.’ “‘No but’ is the death of creativity. It’s the death of contribution.”
Paul Berry Founder and CEO of Rebelmouse @teamreboot
Define your company as a team not a family. “Being in the company is being on the starting string for as long as you’re a star and fit for the team…Not necessarily together forever as family.”
Prioritize implicit goals for the entire organization. “A sales team is actually just a group because they all have individual goals. A real team has one goal together.”
Give every team member the opportunity to participate at the idea level of shaping the road map. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a sysadmin or the head of sales, there are no silos when it comes to contributing intellectually across disciplines.”
Liz Wessel Co-Founder and CEO of Campus Job @lizwessel
Don’t underestimate the value of spending time with your team members one-on-one. “Everyone in the company needs to have a one-on-one with their manager at least once per week. Managers are encouraged to get new ideas and feedback in those sessions.”
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