Business Magazine

Guarding the Gate

Posted on the 08 February 2011 by Cameronchell

Principle 2 - Step 5:



Startups are not about the idea, they’re about the people. It gets said a lot, but it always bears repeating. Gathering a team of people to work at your startup is one thing, but gathering the right people will always an ongoing project.

The processes that have been laid out with the previous four steps of Principle 2 are designed to help you determine where your people fit best on your team. In doing these exercises you’re always helping to determine if you have gathered the right people as well as creating alignment for you personally and your team as a whole.

It is through these steps that you’re creating corporate culture, the values and standards by which you operate. But this process isn’t a simple one off thing, it isn’t over and done by completing the exercises and steps that we’ve laid alone.


1) Stick to Your Processes – The 6 Principles

We’ve just reached the end of Principle 2, so we have 4 more to go, however as we continue toward the end of these principles you will have a series of exercises you can implement on a continued basis to help protect your culture. The 6 Principles are designed for use within companies to help create sustainable startups. This is only done by understanding these Principles are not a onetime cure-all but must be implemented in such a fashion that they become embedded into the culture you are protecting.


2) The “Yah, But” Rule

Protect yourself against excuses. People are prone to mistakes, the saying is “to err is human” for a reason, but excuses are costly. Whenever you find yourself, or team members, or other leaders in your organization starting a sentence with “Yah, but” you know there is trouble brewing behind the curtains. Find the right area for team members to excel at or let them go. Shuffle them around or shuffle them out the door, either way you are not doing your team or your startup any favours by making excuses for employees that cannot execute.


3) Fail Fast

This is a rule we live by. There is no greater way to learn than to fail fast and hard. But learning from failing is impossible if you are unwilling to fail. When a project or team member is not working and not functioning in the team you are hamstringing yourself by “giving them time to find their rhythm”. We’re not advocating getting rid of team members immediately if they do not pick up on the processes and roles, but instead to understand where the line is and that cuts need to be made when the line is crossed.


Making sure you have the right people on your team is a continual cycle. Guarding the gate then becomes the process of filtering new entrants to make sure they fit in the parameters of your team structures as well as protecting your current team. This isn’t to say corporate culture cannot evolve and grow with new team members, but that is should be carefully guarded to help preserve the essence of the culture you and your team have created.


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