As a break from my regularly scheduled blog, I thought I would post yet another Top-10 from a piece I wrote this week re: the evolution from a entrepreneurial start-up to an operational company.
Entrepreneurial alignment is easy: hone the idea; build the product; attract the customer; raise the capital. Operational alignment is more complex. To successfully meet operational goals, everyone should understand and agree upon what those goals are.
In an ever-changing environment of a start-up it is impossible to stay aligned without constant communication. In addition, I’m a staunch believer that open, honest and timely communication can preempt distracting inter- and intra-organizational issues.
There’s a time for brainstorming and a time for decision-making. Founding a company requires the former; building one, the latter. Make fast decisions and minimize non-essential ideation.
A pre-funded company is judged by the potential of the idea; a funded company is judged by the execution of it. Therefore, make sure a good portion of early hires are doers, not thinkers.
It’s hard to judge execution without milestones—personal, departmental, & organizational. The more numerous and frequent the milestones are, the better.
Usually, to get something done, someone needs to own it and take 100% responsibility for its initiation and completion. When assigning ownership, it is best to name names and refrain from using ambiguous pronouns (we, they).
7. Action Items
Every meeting should end with a list of action items assigned to a specific owner. Every meeting should start with a review of completed and open action items.
What constitutes efficiency varies from person to person and organization to organization, but many of mechanisms are the same—adequate process, appropriate infrastructure, effective documentation, etc. Establish such mechanisms and reward the prolific.
9. Organization Structure
A good organization structure is like a good urban planning model—it doesn’t matter so much when you’re small but as you grown it becomes critically important to the efficient functioning of the organization.
A corporate culture forms organically, but early practices and behaviors can quickly become cultural touchstones. Take time to instill good cultural norms and eradicate bad ones.