Entrepreneurs are renowned for knowing what they want and going after it relentlessly. For much of a startup’s journey, the founder is the company expert, executing on a vision that they hold, and making sure everyone on the team can understand what the end-goal is. Sometimes, however, this singular focus can have drawbacks – and one of the more significant mistakes an entrepreneur can make is hiring people just like them.
Sure, you’ll need some people on the team who think and act in a similar way to you, because it can help keep everyone focused on the road ahead. But beyond that initial group, it’s vital to diversify your team’s skill set. Here’s why:
If everyone approaches a problem the same way, then you might come across a problem that nobody in the company can solve. By putting a focus on role diversity at your startup, you’re opening your doors to people who can approach challenges in new ways. It also means you can bring people onto the team who naturally excel in areas that nobody else does. When everyone’s doing work that they’re naturally proficient in, everything is more efficient. And as a startup, efficiency is everything.
If it’s more efficient to have everyone doing things they’re naturally good at, then it’s clearly inefficient to have people performing tasks they’re not confident in. Role diversity in a startup means that there are more opportunities for one person’s strengths to cover someone else’s weaknesses. Slow sales might not mean you need more salespeople: it might mean that your current salespeople are splitting their time between selling and ensuring customer success. A full-time customer success person could alleviate that area of inefficiency for your sales team, and would likely improve customers’ relationships with your brand. Everyone does what they do best, and a gap that caused inefficiency is now closed. Not a bad way to diversify your team.
There are different ways of looking at diversity in a startup, and all of them are exceedingly important. But it’s important to look at diversity from a higher level than on a per-team basis. Which startup roles don’t currently exist that could help make the company more efficiency overall? Can a roadblock be fixed with more of the same, or is it time to branch out and get various kinds of support? Diversifying the roles in your startup can help answer these questions – and more often than not, you’ll see the beginnings of a cohesive unit that leverages everyone’s strengths and covers each other’s weaknesses, all while pushing your startup to new heights.
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