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Propel Your Ideas Forward: How to Build Strong and Effective Teams / By: Elizabeth (Lizzy) Brahin


Have you thought about entrepreneurship? Well, one of the most important steps to building a company is constructing the right team. In fact, according to a study by CBInsights analyzing the top reasons for startup failure, nearly 23% of failures were attributed to not having the right team (CBInsights 2019).

So the question is, how do we solve this issue?

First, ensure you have a clear mission and purpose. What problem are you solving? Are there existing solutions? Does your company offer benefits that are greater than what currently exists? How will you empower your team? Setting out a clear goal from the start is crucial to having a successful company, one where there is a common purpose that everyone is working towards. Take it from Forbes 30 Under 30 Recipient and Founder of Eden Health, Matt McCambridge. “Hiring excellent people is super important to culture, which supports the organization by sharing problems effectively.

How do you do this? You must find people whose values align with you and those you trust. It is critical to ensuring the success of a company. While team members must be reliable and deliver high-quality products, they also need to be upfront about issues that may arise. Efficiency in the long-term requires a dedicated team, actively working to improve themselves while also preventing and addressing any problems before they spiral into larger troubles. Secondly, founding members must have a passion for the mission. While the founder is driven by their idea, employees may have other extrinsic motivations such as financially supporting themselves and their families. Building strong company culture is crucial to strengthening an employee’s intrinsic motivation to succeed and move the team forward.

After considering the personality traits you are looking for, you also have to determine what your team will look like. This means diversity, or more specifically what the Harvard Business Review tags “two-dimensional diversity,” through the expression of both inherent and acquired diversity in the team: diverse identities, backgrounds, experiences, and more. In fact, “companies with ‘two-dimensional’ diversity are 45% more likely to report that they had captured a larger portion of the market and 70% more likely to have entered into a new market in the past year” (Harvard Business Review 2013).

One often overlooked measure of diversity is in regards to age. When thinking of a startup, one tends to think of the Silicon Valley college dropout. But Marge Johnsson, a serial entrepreneur and Founder and Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Education Institute, says that “multigenerational power and success propel teams forward.” Back to the same idea of two-dimensional diversity, teams with people from different age groups offer decades of industry and life experience, in addition to the intersectional diversity of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and more. You want your idea to reach as many people as possible, and diversity ensures that is attainable.

So now that you’ve had a glimpse into how to form a strong team, what are your next steps? How will you take action and start changing the world one idea at a time?

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