Your biggest challenge: building a great team

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Another great quote on startupquote.com! According to Fastcompany, John Doerr is one of the most influential VC’s of his generation. The list of companies he invested in is pretty impressive.

You can read an old (1997), but still very relevant interview with John in Fastcompany about the crucial role of teams in startup companies.

Here are some extracts from the interview

So our 28-year-old goes to the startup meeting. It’s now midnight, and they’re on their 11th cup of coffee. Looking around that table, what does this person need to consider?

That’s the moment of truth. That’s when you ask: “Are these the people I want to be in trouble with for the next 5, 10, 15 years of my life?” Because as you build a new business, one thing’s for sure: You will get into trouble.

Does it make sense to look around the table and start to identify the skills that the group needs? For example, do you start listing functions such as marketing, sales, or personnel that you need to go after?

That’s one way to do it. Often the founders at the House of Pancakes all come from the same department, usually engineering. They’re expert in their own world. But frequently their world is all they know.

But you might think about it differently. For instance, when you’re putting your team together, look for really smart people. It’s fundamental. When you get exceptionally smart people on your team, that’s a big plus. Besides smart, look for a combination of experience, drive, commitment, and passion. You don’t want all experience — but you also don’t want all drive, energy, and passion. Getting that mix right is the difference between ventures that achieve greatness and startups that are merely successful, or worse.

What’s the most important part of any business plan?

I always turn to the biographies of the team first. For me, it’s team, team, team. Others might say, people, people, people — but I’m most interested in the team as a whole – its mix of experience and personalities, its chemistry.

Once again it’s great to experience that smart business people say that it’s all about great teams and not about individual performance. Needless to say that once again this proves the business value of Hercules Trophy, which is the only real corporate team event in the world that focusses on emotional connection through sports.

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