Always have a time for beer with your team members!:)
As I wrote (or not) before, I have a great team for the JobRely. As for CraftsWorld I have a great cofounder and we are a team of two. In both cases my colleagues are also employees for some other companies and their main income is generated not from our activities (yet). As of this situation a lot of issues were/are raising. And these issues can kill the best idea you are working on if you are not careful with your team.
The main problem you are facing is dedication or priorities. Next thing that disturbs you is the availability of your team members (or some would call them resources) . You want to have some rest or time for yourself at the evenings. And finally you start thinking – I dedicate more time so I deserve more. And if I would have a full time dedicated team – I would rule the world.
These thoughts were
pooping popping up in my minds too. Sometimes I believed them, took them serious. And I was wrong. The problem lies in a team management, not where people work.
If a person works for a full time job and gets salary there – his main priority will be to stay safe, to earn a living, to pay the rent. The more professional team member you get, the less chances you have that he will quite his job to join your startup (till you are not able to pay a base salary). Who would risk on his family life? I wouldn`t. The bright side is that his experience lets him to do his work 2-3, sometimes 4 times faster then for an amateur. And he will do it professionally on his first attempt. Do you see? Your responsibility is to set the right priorities for him. And have realistic expectations.
Please note that you need team members more then they need you. And vice versa. This leads to a symbiosis where you steal some time of his working day, he steals some time of your evening rest. You and your team must agree on this. In my case we combine it as following: meetings in the evenings on Mondays, Skype calls on Thursdays, lunches on concrete topic during the week. Meetings on concrete topics after 4PM. And one weekend day per month with those who doesn`t have family.
When it comes to the time dedication I have one saying – “the value is not created by the time spent”. Myself I was accusing my cofounder of not dedicating the needed amount of time. We had some fights, bad emotions. After the time has passed I must agree that I was wrong. I didn`t set clear priorities what must be done first. Also I didn`t have a time buffer for not urgent but needed tasks. This leads to the fact that no matter how much time your team can dedicate it is up to you to set the right direction so actions would bring results.
To summarize: set the right goals, realistic expectations. Adapt the management style to your team reality. Constantly look what works, what doesn`t. If you need additional resources – find them. There are a lot of people willing to help you for free:).
The hope that “we will work it out” might become real for once, twice, but at the end it will not work. So don`t kill it because at the end of day you will be the one to be blamed. Not your team.
Tips? Well in each case they are different, how ever:
- Set the same meeting day for each week. Set the time so you would have some space to make it longer (f.e. start from 6PM, not 8).
- Have virtual talks more often. Pick up your phone and call more often too.
- Get beer with your team not once or twice per year (tho do not make it a habit).
- Use some task planning and progress measurement tools. Don`t use too sophisticated ones.
- Be more human friendly. How ever keep the rules. One missed deadline is ok. One each one day for a week – you need to have a serious talk.
- Don`t write long status updates. Use bullet points in your mailings. Even separate emails according to he need of people.
- Use some kind of messenger that lets the participants to ignore the chat (Skype f.e.)
- In this case micro management is not an option (IRT to last commenter. I read your comments^^). Overmicromanage and you will loose a member. Also your productivity will not be directed towards growth.
P.S. Some people said that I write too long. Isn`t this post too short?:))