Entrepreneurs are known for doing more with less. But the only way a small startup can do the work of a company five times its size is by making sure that the team is optimized from the outset. Just like code, a poorly-optimized team is slow and clunky, wasting time and resources that could’ve been better spent as you scale your business. Here are three ways to optimize your team to become waste-free and maximize productivity.
Find people who own it
Yeah, this one’s pretty obvious – but its importance can’t be overstated. You need people that can be trusted to handle things on their own, without you having to check in on them. Before you bring someone onto the team, consider the more nuanced skills and personality traits you need them to possess. Can they handle the pressure? Can they collaborate with others without prompting? Should they expect a lot of guidance from you, or should they be comfortable with days of radio silence? Of course, nobody has every possible trait you want, but if you prioritize those things beforehand, you can quickly determine who’s going to be the best fit.
Play to individual strengths
It’s clearly beneficial to align people’s roles with their technical skills. But keep an eye out for those who are naturally proficient at some of the things that are harder to learn over time, like being naturally detail-oriented, or good at creating structured plans. If you delegate tasks according to employees’ natural strengths, you’ll have the right people focusing on the things they can do faster and better than anyone else – better, perhaps, than those who have learned the skill over time. Having a naturally proficient team is a wildly powerful engine for building your company.
Maintain a positive culture
Ever notice how, when you’re really pumped about doing something, you seem to get it done so much faster? Your team works the same way. When a work environment is positive, team dynamics improve and productivity gets a boost. The best way to keep spirits high is to maintain positive, productive relationships and feed off of each other’s energy. You know how your co-founders work and communicate – and your employees should know the same things about their colleagues. Who needs detailed information, and who wants just the high-level stuff? Who prefers to work on the fly, and who needs time to let challenging details marinate before moving forward? Who likes to talk about their weekend plans, and who prefers to keep their head down until the end of the day? Never underestimate the power of the little things – it’s amazing how quickly attitudes can improve when everyone feels as though their idiosyncrasies are understood and respected.
As you prepare you scale your business, you need to make a lean team work like a large one – and that comes through team optimization and improving team dynamics. Find the right people, play to their natural strengths, and get everyone jiving together to streamline the work they’re doing. A coffee or two won’t hurt, either.