If you’ve made it to the stage of having yourself a humming system of operations, then you can be sure of two things:
A) You’ve made it further than a ton of the startups out there (moment to celebrate)
B) Some of your initial employees are probably getting a bit too comfortable!
When we are at the super early stages of our companies (typically pre-cashflow positive) everything is super hectic, and always changing. The fast paced roller coaster ride between ‘sprints’ is bound to keep your team on their toes…
Then one day, something amazingly, absurd happens — things begin to settle down. It’s like you turned your head for a second, and what do ya know… you’ve got a viable product that customers seem to enjoy paying you for 🙂 What’s next – systems.
So, you start to build systems to manage the consistency of the profits and productivity. However, with those systems come another natural progression – habits.
Habits are a natural part of the hum condition… After all, they are what took us from being hunter gathers, and allowed us to settle down, form communities, and compliment each others needs via specializations. Typically, when you can pick up a habit at something, you’ll slowly become better and better as time plays on, and eventual you’ll be a master!
It’s that mastery that managers and CEOs look to hire, and it is also the reason why executives, advisors and investors put pressure on your startup to build functional systems as early as possible. Think about it, the better you can get an employee to become – or the quicker you can get the to master their craft – then the greater the marginal output you will see from that same basis of compensation.
Sounds great right! Well, typically it is – but – if you let it go unchecked, those habits can also cost you something else — culture. The culture of a business, especially a startup, is what makes it or breaks it in the early days. Winning cultures will ultimately be the businesses that are quickly looking to adopt all of these systems, and squeeze out marginal productivity. So, as to not lose sight of who you are – and more importantly – continue to evolve it… a great strategy is to run frequent “retraining” exercises.
The goal of the exercises is to keep things fresh, keep things competitive, and to affirmative the values and vision that your brand (and thus your team) is meant to embody.