February 16, 2019
By Michael Crowley Copyright 2019, All rights reserved
Last year, I had the honor of presenting the first workshop and lecture for the Mark Ain Business Plan Competition. I was pleased to speak on two of my favorite interrelated topics - the Art instilling of "Entrepreneurial Thinking" in the Startup team and the Science behind creating a "Fearless" Startup team. As the students assembled for the workshop, I even was able to play 5 minute a video of the Dave Brubeck Quartet playing their iconic "Take Five" to give them the concept of importance of improvisation and creativity required to create great jazz. Few experiences in life are closer to working on a great entrepreneurial startup team than watching jazz musicians do their thing. Surprisingly, many of the students were not only immediately familiar with Take Five but also quickly identified the musicians as the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
It has been my personal observation that when we talk about the most important steps to forming a Startup team, we often become over-focused on the mechanics of a startup and miss the fact that it is a unique art form that has a vibe all its own. When each team member has a unique role that is clear and the team shares a common mission, passion and purpose ever a small team can make great music and inspire others to join them on the path.
I think most would agree that Talent recruitment is still generally regarded as the top skill set required of the startup entrepreneur. When the risk taking musics playing in the background of your early team, playing together like Dave Brubeck's Quartet, is exciting, energetic, sweet and smooth... it is far more likely that you will find that person with the special talent to turn your quartet into a great quintet without losing a beat. It is critically important that every early hire brings something unique and special to the team without upsetting the harmony. Very few things kill a startup more quickly that bringing in a bad player (or two) on-board who specializes in sour notes.
Entrepreneurial Thinking and the "Fearless" Thinking required for a Startup...go hand-in-hand. Understanding how these two components work together goes a long way towards building a great startup team.