Being in a leadership role in a startup, specifically a startup with a launch date already set with a very tight schedule and many open projects, I reached the most difficult situation in my entire career, but it also paved the way for a developmental experience.
I have written about the 10 qualities of successful IT leaders and the 10 challenges facing IT leaders in a startup in the past, and today I am writing about the lessons learned. Here are 10 lessons to take away if you have been put through the same situation.
1. In a startup, empowerment is welcomed but it might be risky unless properly managed.
2. It is OK to take decisions which might be perceived wrong by others as long as you know how to mitigate the consequences emerging out of this situation.
3. Due to its importance in building a solid structure, pay attention to develop policies and procedures early on. Governance is highly welcomed by stakeholders.
4. Team members are a goldmine of learning through their initiatives, and creative ideas as well as mistakes and pitfalls. Give them the chance to contribute. Also, be ready for continuous team building and conflict resolution.
5. It is wise from time to time to test waters taking an action or even not taking the action to measure reactions and feedback.
6. Be smart when it comes to stakeholders. It isn’t enough that you are doing a great job, what is important is if you are up to the expected outcomes as per the stakeholders’ point of view.
7. In a startup, with the lack of solid financial resources, managing team expectation is very critical to retention and motivation.
8. Selecting the suitable communication channel is very critical and might have an impact on the evaluation of results and performance.
9. In times, management will be rushing to reap the rewards of a project or an initiative while it isn’t ready yet. Managing expectation needs special attention.
10. Always seek, listen to , and analyze feedback. You might be surprised that you paid attention to the least important topics than those that are of interest to your stakeholders.
For me, a startup is a great opportunity to get exposed to a wide array of people, personalities, and rich experiences. What do you think?