Building a good team

In the process of building a team, I’ve chance to work with quite a few of people and I’ve created for myself a list of criteria to look for when bringing in new member. This is of course an on going process since I’m still learning and will keep learning everyday.

  1. Could I count on your word?

To me this is the most important criteria. We are working as a team and everyone is depending other persons in the team. What good could be done if we couldn’t count on each other? I don’t care if you are a rock star with the best technical skills. You may thrive in other environments but in a team, that just adds too much unnecessary headaches.

If you say you will do A by the time T. Please do A by the time T. Counting on your word, doesn’t mean you always have to keep the exact time T. Issues happen, people underestimate, things change, etc. Counting on your word means, you know when to communicate to others so there is no surprises.

2. Do you like the product?

Starting out is hard, especially when you pay them so little compare to other big companies. So money isn’t a main driving factor and incentive anymore. So what could keep you going? “The product and the people”

So I always try to be honest, share our visions, products and current team with new member who want to join. Its hard to tell if they will like the people right away, but if they are not passionate about the product, they may not want to join the team. The road ahead is rough, and without your passion, you don’t have much to hang on to.

3. Would I like to have lunch with you?

We will spend a lot of time working together, so I would rather work with people that you could talk too. Its not always the case in big team or big company since you go to work, just for..work. For small team in a startup, I believe its important that the team get along and people enjoy spending time with each other.

One note though, get along doesn’t mean everyone has to have the same personalities. To me, it’s more like respecting each other and willing to listen to each other.

Diversity of personalities actually a really good thing to build a sustainable business in my humble opinions. For example, a co-founder may run wild and always want to take risk. Its good and all but its even better with there is another co-founder who could be the filter, and could put on the breaks if needed.

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