Resources: Human Resources
At S3, we want to work with game changing entrepreneurs. Andy’s book identifies what game changing entrepreneurs do each and every day. He has enumerated twelve helpful rules that we consider critical to successful startups. This book touches on how to make something from nothing, how to help the world be more productive and create wealth for the masses. Creation is at the foundation of entrepreneurship and, in our minds, imperative for improving the human condition. You will read rules like “If it doesn’t scale, it will get stale”, “Waste what’s abundant to make up for what’s scarce”, “Markets make better decisions than managers”, and “Use zero marginal cost to create a flood”. In these rules and others, we see that scale is what matters to build large enterprises. Time is not on anyone’s side, so using what is abundant to save time is highly prized. Markets are for price discovery, work with them and not against them. And finally, pricing on value rather than cost is critical to building a premium value enterprise. Andy has great insights for today’s entrepreneur and he writes in a no nonsense style.
Over the past 5 years in the S3 portfolio, we have seen challenges related to the contribution and scalability of talent in key leadership positions. Using Allen’s tools developed from his many years of coaching executive leaders, we have proactively addressed these limitations to performance. Managing critical talent additions and transitions is one of the greatest challenges facing organizations as they grow and face accelerating complexity and scale. We encourage the reader to use this white paper as a health check of leadership performance. Then, find a trusted advisor to review the results to see if each assessment is accurate. Everyone has a set of blind spots and they are dangerous to leaders, boards and their respective company. The S3 team hopes you find this paper helpful in increasing leadership effectiveness and team performance.
Allen Sockwell and Brian R. Smith
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lenceoni is a must read for startup executives. Told in the form of a story, it follows a new CEO as she works through issues with her executive team. She diagnoses that there are five dysfunctions she has observed: the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. These are all common problems which can cripple all team environments but are especially important in small start up environments in which everyone needs to be working towards the same goal and the key bottleneck to success is the team’s time.
At S3, we have seen this book help in many ways across multiple companies. Some teams have everyone in the company read the book while some teams run the team assessment quiz included in the book at executive off-sites. It helps them frame the discussion about what is working with the team and what is not. It also shows how valuable executive off-sites can be for fast growing companies (most of S3’s portfolio companies do annual or semi-annual off-sites). Overall, it is a great book and a quick read that every startup team should read.