Recently, I attended a book club gathering at a local marketing firm where we reviewed a business book called Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, and on top of geeking out on marketing topics, they also provided a nice spread of appetizers along with beer and wine. What is there not to like about this type of event? Now, unless you’re a solopreneur, you’re most likely working on a team of any kind – small or big. But even if you’re a solopreneur, you still have to work and collaborate with other groups which makes the book of this content useful to anyone. As an ice breaker, our small intimate group decided to get to know each other by stepping out of our comfort zone in a vulnerable way to get us started prior to the discussion.
This is something that you could try among your new staff members to get more acquainted by asking three simple questions:
1) Where were you born and where did you grow up?
2) How many siblings do you have and where do you stack?
3) What was the worst job that you’ve ever hard? Discuss.
By doing this simple conversational exercise, we found out that some of us had similar sibling background or similar job horror stories. The geographical answer also uncovered a lot of answers for the group as the place where one grew up was related to different culture and living environment. All of these answers gave us contexts. Sharing personal information creates a space where one can start talking about a common topic to ease the conversation and further build a relationship on non-work items. It’s by understanding certain dynamics within your team that you can at times become even more productive in the end.
Another great author that came about during this exercise was related to the work of Keith Ferrazzi, especially his latest book, Who’s Got your Back?
The 5 dysfunctions are as followed:
1. Absence of Trust: Group members are resistant towards being vulnerable within the group which creates friction
2. Fear of Conflict: The team has strong challenges engaging in debates of ideas without feeling like they have to put filters around their thoughts
3. Lack of Commitment: Group members seldom have buy in or commit to decisions
4. Avoidance of Accountability: Group members don’t call their peers on behaviours which hurt the team
5. Inattention to Results: Group members put their individual needs before the team which delays team cohesiveness
This chart can help you understand the concepts better:
Have you read this book? What was your review?Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru
Over 15 years ago, our co-founders, Tony Chu and Kevin Liang, decided that they would make the leap into the scary, yet exciting startup world. Over the weekend, as the newly appointed online community manager who’s interested in this new “world,” I attended my first Startup Day (Twitter: @startupday) in Seattle, WA, where I had the opportunity to hear 16 amazing 20-minute talks from extremely bright entrepreneurs including the keynote speaker, Eric Ries (On Twitter: @ericries), author of the new entrepreneur book called The Lean Start Up: How Today’s Entrepreneur Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (2011). Eric is also known for his popular blog Startup Lessons Learned. He’s a great, charismatic guy and I even got my signed copy:
While I could spend my time going back through my own hashtag that day over at #startupday, I’d like to focus my article on a topic that’s always on top of mind here at Canadian Web Hosting Ltd.: community.
What made this event so interesting? In my opinion, it revolves around three main areas related to community:
The people are everything whether you’re looking internally within your company or externally to your peers or even competitors. This event gathered like-minded folks who either were thinking of starting their own startups or were already in business for themselves. There are already multiple commonalities that are left unsaid. Going into this event, you already know that these people are natural leaders. Let me explain: they’re extremely driven by a true passion for helping customers and solving every day problems. They don’t do it for money, they do it because they care about the end users. We care about you. Startups create and ship products every day with this hardcore mentality that the more you put in, the more rewards you’ll get it and the more your customers will appreciate it. You could feel the energy flying around the room; everyone there was so bright, sharp and intelligent – there was no doubt about that. The hundreds of attendees were restless to make a change, eager to come up with the next big idea, but also ready to help one another which brings us to our next point.
2) Peer Support
One of the benefits of attending this event as a startupper was: the advisor’s sessions. In these sessions, you could sign up for 20 quick minutes with a community leader to get more information concerning your current concerns with your already-created or soon-to-be startup. I had the chance to sit in with Berry Zimmerman, a true connector in the Pacific Northwest. He recommended a book called The Entrepreneur Equation by Carol Roth and mentioned that if you weren’t ready for the leap, you must read this book to uncover that answer. This book is it! It was almost endearing to see how supportive each leader were to openly give advice the way they did. It’s remarkable!
3) Common Goals
In the end, no matter what each startup is trying to focus on. Their products are created to help our society. This common drive in the room was apparent , not only in the lobby but even on stage, the content among side conversations or being taught to us were invaluable in understanding the do’s and don’ts when creating or leverage a startup.
GeekWire, a famous tech blog in the Seattle area, ran some great interviews asking two very blunt questions as they put it in their recent article. “What’s the biggest hurdle you face as an entrepreneur?” And: "Why did you decide to take the startup plunge?" A few entrepreneurs shared their views on camera for 20 minutes each.
To show our support to this vibrant tech startup community, we are offering discounts to any of the Startup Day attendees. This offer ends at the end of September by reaching me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru