If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to rocket your startup to success, do not make the error of believing you can do everything alone. That’s a fixed mindset that might seem intuitive to you (after all, who knows your business better?) but can cause major organizational problems down the line and stymie your attempts at meaningful growth. According to a study from Development Dimensions International, only 14% of CEOs had the right talent for growth.
Instead, thoughtfully build an executive team that can drive your organization forward. As your business grows, you will need to add members to your leadership who share similar values and diverse talents. As you select your new COO, CIO, CFO and other critical C-suite roles, consider the following pieces of advice.
Complement Your Strengths, Compensate for Weaknesses
Have a look at the dictionary definition of synergy: “Synergy refers to when an interaction of elements produces an effect that is greater than the effect that would have resulted from simply adding up the effects of each individual element.” That’s what you need when you assemble a leadership team.
It’s a high-wire balancing act trying to achieve synergy in a leadership team. But the best executives shoot for a mixture of complementarity and compensation. The process involves honestly identifying your core strengths – the strengths you want to see writ large in your organization – and optimizing your team for them. It also involves truthfully considering your weakness and blind spots and building your team to fill in the gaps.
You Don’t Have to Align on Everything – Just a Few Core Principles
Your leadership team doesn’t have to align on everything. It’s perfectly fine if the CEO and CFO engage in spirited debates on acquisitions or operational control; it’s par for the course. But your leadership team should align on a few core principles:
- A Shared Vision
- Goals and Incentives
- Communication Best Practices
- And the Value of Mutual Confidence
As long as you have those principles to serve as a mutual bedrock, you can weather the smaller spats.
Look for Proven Track Records of Successful Scaling
When building your leadership team, consider track record. It isn’t quite enough to select complementary, commonly aligned individuals – you need to know that their strengths are consistent and repeatable.
Recently, the disruptive real estate tech company Nobul expanded their leadership team with four new executives after a successful round of funding. CEO of the platform, Regan McGee, was upfront about why he made his decisions. He shared, “They each have proven track records of successfully scaling businesses much smaller than Nobul to multibillion-dollar market caps and attracting stellar talent.”
A leadership team can be a fantastic opportunity for synergy, or the root cause of organizational implosion. Whether your startup is in its infancy, or enjoying the first taste of momentum with a successful funding round, follow the simple tips above to assemble a leadership team for long-term success. Complement your strengths, compensate for your weaknesses, define your core principles and, at the end of the day, choose candidates with a track record of successful scaling.