We have been used to hearing this – people make up the company, people are the real assets, strength of the team decides the success of a startup, people matter the most, etc.,
But is there a flip side to it, especially in startup world? Where people don’t matter at all at times?
I have been with startup ecosystem for half a decade now and have been managing young teams (not necessarily denoting to the age of a person in the team but more to the formation of the team).
In the process, I have listened to many people coming to me with complaints about how one particular individual or group of people affect their prospects to grow or perform or even function their day-to-day routine.
Most often than not, these complaints are caused by the piling up frustration levels against that individual these are referred to, resulting in stress, resentment & polarised workplace.
This is the perfect recipe for disaster as people gradually grow less trusting of each other, gossips starts cropping up at every corner, sourness of relationship & degradation of team work.
Such an organisation is a terrible place to work, and so is the case for an investor who wants to invest money expecting the team will delivery a “hockey stick growth” – on the contrary, it all falls just short of using hockey sticks to settle the scores 🙂
So how do I handle such complaints in the first place?
I always tell them one thing, though I could say many things like
- Take the other person out for a coffee and see if you can cut the ice
- Use direct feedback as an option to drive sense into the conflict
- Don’t worry, I shall speak to him/her and set right the situation, etc.,
So what’s that one thing I tell them? (the most compelling of all other things I possibly could’ve have told them)
I tell them, “don’t worry too much about these people or their actions (that frustrates you) as either they or their actions are just temporary and doesn’t matter in the long run”
If you look at it practically, which means shred off your morality and righteousness parameters, you’ll see how profound this could be.
In my stint across 4 different startups, the only thing I could find constant commonly in all of them is CHANGE.
Yes, and when it comes to change, its not just the business model pivot, key metrics, etc., but people & ways of functioning.
They all change – leave the organisation, assume different responsibility, etc., very quickly in a fluid environment of typical startup that it really shouldn’t bog you down at any point in time.
A classic example is the with one of the startups I worked in the past where the so called “core team” changed 3 times in 6 months!
This is not an exception but the norm, people wield a very temporary negative influence on others and on the contrary any positive influence holds on for a long period of time.
There’s no real rat race here, to be worried or bogged down for. Instead if we realise this simple truth, we can essentially carry on with our set of roles and responsibilities without any fear.
This mindset will prevent a lot of things such as resentment, anxiety, performance roadblocks, etc., It truly keeps you from getting derailed by the temporary irritants at work, so you can produce extraordinary results in your own domain!
And by this, aren’t we just reiterating the philosophical line – Your Problems are temporary!
People (or their way of functioning) don’t matter sometimes after all! Agree? Please comment either ways.