Former Google Team Builder Explains How to Overcome Your Team’s Weaknesses
Sabeen Ali, founder and CEO of AngelHack, a global network of 50,000 programmers shares her insights on how to build and manage a team all over the world.
Sabeen Ali is the founder and CEO of AngelHack, a global network of 50,000 programmers. She is a big box thinker and lays out the grand scheme of things. When you look in the mirror, each of you know what your strengths are. Are you a leader? Visionary? Detail oriented? A great communicator? Strong at analytics?
Whatever it may be, most of you are in tune to who you are.
You may not want to admit it, but when looking in that same mirror, you see what your weaknesses are as well. Are you bad at math? Communicating? Thinking big? Working quickly?
Some leaders would recommend turning weaknesses into strengths. Others would recommend maximizing the strengths to counter the weaknesses. Regardless of what choice you make, there is one surefire way to get ahead. Fortunately, there are always people out there who can complement the weaknesses each of you have.
Sabeen was quite aware of what her shortcomings were when she started her second business, AngelHack. She knew she wasn’t detail oriented. She knew she moved too quickly to do thorough research. She knew that at times, she would miss crucial pieces of the puzzle she was putting together. Fortunately with her prior startup Team Building ROI, she had a background in building quality teams.
Companies like Google and Apple would call her up when they had a conflict. She would do assessments and team building exercises with them. Getting people from unique backgrounds to work together was what her business consisted of.
When she put together her team with AngelHack, she focused on these three key points:
1) Organizational Development
The most important part of building any company depends on the development of the organization. Whether you are building your first startup or managing your first department, how the organization is structured is quite important.
In the startup world, many people start with three key players. The CEO, CTO and CMO. These three people have significantly different roles. Much like Sabeen, the CEO lays out broad strokes and foundation to the business. The CTO builds the technology to meet those needs. Then the CMO presents the information in a way that the public buys into. Each of these three people build upon each other’s weaknesses.
2) Team Dynamics
The dynamics of a team get a bit more complex. This area focuses on the overall team when other players get involved. Much like how a basketball team surrounds their star player with people who extentuates their skills, Sabeen meticulously picks out her team members to ensure that their strengths overcome her weaknesses. Since she moves fast, she will design a cookie cutter template for a team member, hand over the assignment, then they put up the walls to complete the project.
3) Team Psychology
The only way that Sabeen is able to make this work is by maintaining the team psychology. She puts her trust in her team. Her team puts their trust in her. Each person in her team has each other’s back.
Because they each know that they are there to help and support each other.
Sabeen believes in the elevator theory. By having an elevator theory at work, she believes that you have to take the elevator down to your team member’s level, then bring them back up with you. Once she does that with a team member, she makes sure that her teammate does the same for someone else.
By doing this, she is able to develop out her team to be more well versed at what they do. Since each team member is growing in the process, her network strengthens. As this compounds, amazing things tend to happen.
For Sabeen, this recipe of success has helped her create her global network all across the world. Just imagine what kind of success this recipe can create for your team or your business.