1. September 2014–
The following is a guest post by Alexandra Schwarz-Schilling, Founder and CEO of the Coaching Spirale GmbH. Coaching Spirale GmbH is a Berlin-based coaching center with a team of 7 coaches who support their clients on a private or business level to develop their potentials and find solutions for individual problems.
Nowadays, a great idea and good financing are not enough to secure a startup’s success. In the best-case scenario, a company experiences exponential growth, and new members are quickly introduced to the team. The structural changes that go along with this can be overwhelming, especially for many creative young startups. Often the founders are solely focused on financing and developing their company. The task of establishing sustainable structures falls by the wayside. The initial stage of development and implementation is especially chaotic, as you want to get your idea off the ground as quickly as possible. Here are 7 tips for startups, taken from my coaching seminars, to help them develop a good corporate culture that will set the foundation for a company’s success:
- „We are unique“
„We provide the best product on the market” – this statement is no longer sufficient as a USP to distinguish oneself from the competition. The vision of a company has to be consistent over many years and has to maintain its substance during the ups and downs of trends and technological innovations. Furthermore, a clear description of the company’s vision is the basis for a good goal definition. This is the reason why we start each one of our startup coaching seminars with the development of the mission-vision statements.
- Setting clear goals
The next step is connecting the mission-vision-statement to the here and now and setting clear goals and milestones. Without a clear set of goals, a startup quickly loses its focus. A good objective is the strongest tool for success.
- „What I don’t know won’t hurt me“
Awareness of one’s own weaknesses and limitations is an important task that many young entrepreneurs struggle with. However, only in this way can a founder identify where there is room for improvement and for which tasks they will need to hire external help. Only a few founders know and are able to do everything immediately. Thus, seeking external help is not only important but also essential.
- Nobody is perfect but a team can be
The one single perfect founder or employee does not exist. There is no one who is at the same time organized and creative, humorous and stern, dynamic and patient, a great listener and a talker. No one person can combine all those traits. The right teambuilding measures uncover and strengthen the different potentials and talents of every single team member. A coherent, harmonious relationship between coworkers helps support a productive and creative working atmosphere. As we all know, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Clearly defined roles and positions
The right role definition in a team is one of the most important factors for a company’s success. A clear indication of who is responsible for what avoids inefficient discussions that hamper productivity. Employees can identify with the company only if they feel committed to a certain task. A distinct allocation of roles also has a positive impact on teamwork and helps coworkers develop mutual understanding and respect for one another.
- Up-To-Date leadership competences
Many managers are genuinely interested in leading and supporting their employees in the best way possible. However, what they often lack are essential and up-to-date capabilities. Outdated leadership and working styles are counterproductive, especially in the world of startups. Generation Y does not only want to work to earn money but wants to experience the purpose of their work. Therefore, the focus of a leadership-coaching seminar is generally to set on strengthening communications skills. Applicable key words are: active listening as well as clear and constructive feedback. Other important factors are time management, responsible leadership and a competent reflection on one’s own actions - all properties that make a competent team leader.
- A corporate culture based on esteem
All the measures discussed above have to be integrated with each other to create the right work setting for your startup. Creativity, performance and motivation cannot be bought, let alone be monitored. Anyone who is looking for these traits in their team has to create the right conditions that foster the growth of these characteristics. In a corporate culture based on esteem, everyone works towards a common goal and each person has a clearly defined task, position or expectation of what is asked of him or her. Furthermore, an approach towards problem solving is supported and there is a good level of constructive criticism. In this way, these flexible and contemporary business processes shape the corporate culture consciously. It is important to keep structures flexible, as to be able to adjust to all the rapid changes and the permanent flow of new trends.
All these steps help to create an open and respectful communications culture and to establish the right structures to create a prosperous business out of a great idea.
Image Credit: Coaching Spirale GmbH