Category Archives: Management and Strategy

Start-ups: The Founding Team Is a Real Magic Bullet

The majority of new ventures fail prematurely.  A lot of this failure is due to a lack of collaboration within founding teams.  Important, early decisions are prone to conflict. Examples of these decisions include funding, development, etc.  Because tensions are so high, investors often look at the team-dynamic as much as the start-up product itself. Strong teams can overcome and navigate turbulence, leading them to success.  Founders of start-ups are in a unique situation, as they can build and craft their whole team from the ground-up. Teams should be made of both unique skills, and people with interpersonal skills.  The culture that the originating team sets usually lasts long after the staff rotates out.  Read More >>

Your Work Friends and Enemies are Affecting your Performance

Conflict may appear to be two-sided, but this is not usually true.  The basis of most conflict at work is tryadic: when there are three parties involved.  The third party is often the key to relieving tension and restoring balance. When employees feel socially balanced at work, they tend to perform better.  Researchers from Northwestern University, Harvard Business School, and University of California teamed up to discover how social triangles change over time.  They ruled relationships into four categories: a friend of a friend is a friend, a friend of an enemy is an enemy, an enemy of an enemy is a friend, and an enemy of a friend is an enemy.  If all four rules are satisfied in a tryad, the tryad is balanced. There are two possibilities for this, which are when all three people like each other, and when two friends have a mutual enemy.  Balanced relationships are important because employees tend to make better and more profitable decisions than when they are in an unbalanced situation.  Read More >>

Deciding How Much Equity to Give your Key Employees

The new trend within tech start-ups is giving offering potential talent equity shares.  Giving worthy job candidates a share of equity could be the difference of them picking your company over someone else’s.  This also motivates workers, and decreases employee turnover. Equity encourages employees to stay long-term, because they are motivated by the idea of the company enters the public stock-market, or if it is sold in the future.  Equity acts as a foreign currency, and the amount depends on timing, need, and expertise. It is also very good for attracting potential advisors to the company. Advisors can triple the value of a company, so the equity would eventually pay for itself.  Read More >>

What You can Learn from Being Asked to Resign

Being asked to resign can be an incredibly painful experience.  However, dealing with this confrontation can lead to insight of how the company is doing, and what is going wrong.  Many people asked to resign are caught off-guard, and receive criticism. This honest constructive criticism can lead to one’s future success.  While alarming at the time, constructive criticism is a gift that allows one to listen to others’ concerns and re-evaluate one’s own actions. Listening and allowing oneself to be vulnerable will help one bloom into future jobs, or keep the ones they already.   Read More >>

Why Your Next Brainstorm Should Begin with an Embarrassing Story

New research from the Kellogg school shows that embarrassment can be a gateway to creativity.  It turns out that holding cringe-worthy anecdotes back creates an unintentional barrier of self-censorship.  “When you have a brainstorming session, what you’re hoping is that people are putting out any idea, without regard to any judgment or evaluation,” says Leigh Thompson, a professor of management and organizations at Kellogg and author of Creativity Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration.  Sharing embarrassing stories is also a good way for groups to break the ice, as it creates a humorous space where people are allowed to feel vulnerable. This is opposed to traditional ice-breakers where people share their accomplishments. Adding this sense of pride inevitable turns ice-breakers into a competition.  Bragging about one’s accomplishments may be a confidence boost, but it results in a hindering of innovative thinking. Instead of closing people off from each-other, reinforcing funny or embarrassing stories can lead to trust and better performance.  Read More >>

The Science of Building Great Teams

While teamwork may have been fostered in youth, it is an incredibly useful skill in the workforce.  A study generated over five years of 19.9 million scientific papers and 2.1 patents showed that people produce more work in teams than as individuals.  Teams are more important than they used to be because there is much more to learn within a given field. When it comes to building the teams themselves, team-members’ ability to coordinate effectively trumps the individuals on the team’s respective talent.  Additionally, teams have their own level of intelligence, which is measured by a group’s ability to perform tasks. Read More >>    

A False Sense of Progress with Easier Tasks

Maryam Kouchaki, an associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg, and her colleagues studied people who were overwhelmed with the workload and the approach taken by them to achieve them. They found that many people choose to perform simpler tasks when the workload is heavy and although this gives a sense of satisfaction instantly, in the long run, this strategy definitely fails because it does not contribute anything to the overall goal of the organisation and does not help the individual learn or improve any skills. To tackle this situation at an organisation it is essential that the managers encourage the workers to take up difficult tasks and disintegrate them into smaller subtasks that can be achieved, so they can get the same satisfaction if they had performed an easier task. this not only challenges people but also provides the opportunity to learn new skills every day. It is imperial that the managers educate their employees about the importance of tackling difficult tasks for professional growth. Thus it can be concluded that Getting a sense of progress is so essential and at the same time it should not be mistaken to instant gratification. Read More>>

The science behind collective intelligence

A study carried on 19.9 million scientific papers and 2.1 million patents generated over 5 decades shows that teams produce more work than individuals do and the teams are getting bigger over time, It was further observed that these teams produced work that was more often cited than the work of an individual. It is strange that the team have a combined level of intelligence known as collective intelligence which is not really the sum of all intellects on the team. A study on collective was carried out on various teams by involving the members in solving visual puzzles, brainstorming and other exercises. It was concluded that teams performed better when the members were more perceptive to their teammate’s feelings and opinions, It also suggests that with more women on the team the success rate improved because woman are more perceptive and when turns were given to all the members to speak out rather than being dominated, teams performed significantly better. Thus it becomes imperial that a manager assembles and handles his team in order to reap the benefits of all the individual talents. Read More>>

Need for challenging colleagues

As an entrepreneur sometimes you are forced to work alongside people who are really difficult to handle although this could have been avoided if they are not the boss of the company. Often the challenging or difficult people are mistaken to the bad ones, The challenging ones are those passionate and committed ones who stand up against the crowd and voice out their opinion showing a certain level of abrasion occasionally. But on the contrary, the bad ones are those who hinder the growth of the company and also lower the morale of co-workers and serve no good to the company. Although it is difficult initially to distinguish between the two, it is the role of a good supervisor to weed out the bad ones and let the challenging one’s voice out more. Not only does this ensure everyone’s opinions are heard but also ensures that there is a new perspective to a given problem and also eliminates the error that might have occurred if the whole team was too harmonious and everyone considered going with the group’s view imperial over raising concerns. Read More>>

The reason why marketing hires fail in startups

The marketing skills are divided into 3 different segments namely product marketing, demand generation, and brand marketing. Each kind of marketer possesses critical skills that are imperial to the company. However, marketing hires frequently fail in a startup because they do not hire marketors with the right skill set at the right time, which leads to the question of who should be hired first?  In the past decade hiring  a product marketer at start has fetched consistent success to Startups, the reason behind that is the fact that by laying down a firm foundation for the company in terms of the target audience and what should be conveyed to the audience, further marketing is made  more efficient by having  campaigns that are well-directed and are more relatable. This paves way for the demand generators and brand marketors to reap benefits from the already existing framework of the company and the company to thrive better because they have a better understanding of their customers. Read More>>