What Makes a Startup Team Successful? Focus & Teamwork
Startup culture is interesting in that there are various different, very unique, hats that each person on any startup team has to wear. And, they might wear every hat at some point. However, truly successful teams seem to understand one thing: in order to succeed, you have to focus on one (okay maybe two or three) things at a time.
This is why investors tend to focus carefully on the financial aspects of the business. They’ll look at the market size, the competitors, and the growth potential. They’ll create and run different simulations based on the data they receive. And, while that’s absolutely crucial for any new, growing startup, it’s also important that others in other areas are focusing on different metrics.
Founders and heads of departments, for example, should be focusing on creating cohesive teams that not only understand what’s needed of them in their individual roles but also how to work with other departments efficiently to integrate data and tasks in pursuit of success.
How do they create these types of teams? By encouraging focus and teamwork. And, while it might sound easy, it’s a bit of work when you’ve got a thousand and one other things on your to-do list. That’s what AppFit’s for. But before pushing our solution, let’s talk about why it’s necessary in the first place.
Teamwork Breeds Efficiency
There’s a reason why the emergence of the idea of “division of labor” was so successful in the workplace. It, well, works!
The idea behind the division of labor is that everybody works together on a small portion of the project or task with the idea that each worker becomes an expert in one specific area, thereby increasing not only the worker’s efficiency but the efficiency of the team as a whole. Data simply shows that this kind of teamwork breeds efficiency.
When you’re able to allow startup teams to focus on their individual areas of expertise, they’re able to break a large project down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This means that you have to allow them to become experts at what they do, though. In doing so, you’re allowing them to grow as experts in their specific field, and over time that increases productivity and revenue.
Teamwork Makes Cross-Departmental Work Easier
After allowing individual team members in separate departments to specialize in their area, you’ll find that they’ve likely also developed strong communication skills and the desire to support their colleagues.
Once it’s time to work together with another department, they’ll carry over those skills they’ve learned and apply them to cross-departmental work as well. This means that the design team will have worked efficiently to communicate and finish a task that they can then hand off to the marketing team while communicating efficiently with others as to what the next steps are.
Essentially, working as a team lightens the load for everyone and, according to studies, helps you form bonds with other humans. This is crucial in the startup world where it can sometimes feel like everybody has a long to-do list and very often winging it all.
Strong Teams Require Less Monitoring
Wanna know what you don’t have to do when you’ve got strong teams focused on their own individual tasks rather than having a developer help manage a client or a copywriter help with social designs? You don’t have to continuously monitor them or their status.
This occurs because, first, every team knows what needs to be done. And, hopefully, you’ve got a manager or department head in charge of overseeing the workflow and deadlines. Secondly, it occurs because no team is dropping the ball on any one task.
For example, design knows what they need to do and can work efficiently as a team to get it done. This means that when it’s time to turn something into the developers, they’ll have it on time and completely finished, ready for the next department to take over.
Nobody needs to step in to ask questions and nobody needs to be monitoring the status of a project. Everybody is clear on where everybody else is at because they’re all working as a focused team together.
How to Encourage More Teamwork & Focus
If you’ve made it this far then you’re likely someone who’s either currently working at a startup or who has worked at one in the past. You get it. It can, at times, feel hectic, disorganized, and exhausting. It’s a non-traditional work setting for sure, and that can feel difficult to manage for those who are just getting the hang of things.
So, what are you to do when you find that your team isn’t working efficiently together or focused on their tasks at hand? For starters, give them less tasks to focus on and allow different teams to monitor different tasks or metrics.
Then, once each team has their goal, encourage an environment where every member is allowed to play to their strengths. Again, the idea of the division of labor worked for a reason, and the reason was that it allowed everybody to focus more on their specific task at hand. This helps create autonomy, ownership, and ultimately cultivates specialized workers who are more efficient than workers who are trying to specialize in ten different things at once (in the end, this doesn’t benefit anyone).
Using AppFit to Increase Focused Teamwork
AppFit is designed to help you achieve all of the points mentioned above. When you integrate it correctly into your startup’s workflows, processes, and projects, you’re able to use it to focus on a specific set of data.
Because we only offer the ability to track 12 metrics and up to three active goals, we believe that it’s a great way to encourage the team to stay focused. We suggest encouraging each team to focus on improving only one to three things depending on the size of the team.
With all of your top line metrics on your phone and your whole team in-sync about how the business is doing, you’ll spend all of your time looking at the right things and not wasting time on things that don’t matter.
Start tracking your business health today. Contact us and we’ll get in touch with the next steps for how to onboard your entire team.