When we first started our company, Software Advice, I knew nothing about starting or building a company. But Don had a big library of business books. If I couldn’t hike or ski, I didn’t have much else to do on weekends in Montana. So I started reading.
Today’s employees, especially Gen Y, are increasingly focused on finding a greater purpose in their work. Unlike prior generations who were focused simply on being employed or growing their income, this generation wants something more meaningful. But what if your business is primarily commercial and not, well, saving the world?
Interestingly, one of the most reliable ways to be successful is to be, well, boring. Boring industries are home to some very successful companies, and they are typically not home to fierce competitors like Jobs, Page or Zuckerberg. Of course, the entrepreneurial path you choose will depend upon your ambitions. So if you’re thinking of starting a business, start by asking yourself: What kind of entrepreneur do I want to be?
At Software Advice, we used to have a relatively informal hiring process. We thought we were good judges and could assess any candidate in a fairly unstructured interview process. We also used to make a lot of hiring mistakes. As our company began to grow, we realized we needed some sort of formal process and framework for hiring.
Building your corporate dream team is a lot like how a coach builds a team, a director of admissions builds a college class or a fund manager builds a portfolio of stocks. They’re not looking for every selection to be the perfect athlete, student or stock–they’re looking for the perfect combination or portfolio.
Savants are really good at what they do. Really, really good. They have the ability to become skilled in many, but not all, fields. They may excel in, say, language arts, yet struggle with basic math. Thus, Savants flourish when they find the one thing they’re best at and focus on it intently. They are creative, humorous and often brilliant. However, Savants are introverted.
Matrix Thinkers are your quintessential creative types. They don’t just “think outside the box,” they think about where the box came from, why it’s there and how it could be designed better. While many people think in a linear fashion (a leads to b leads to c), Matrix Thinkers think more like a cube (a leads to m leads to z leads to c).
The Champ is your quintessential high-performing salesperson. Champs are high-energy, optimistic and love engaging with people. They’re also extremely skilled at reading people – a skill which often comes from their upbringing. Maybe a parent taught them. Or maybe their home life wasn’t quite perfect, and they had to learn at a young age how to understand and deal with the imperfections of the adults around them.
As an entrepreneur, you have a lot of things competing for your attention, from big-picture strategy to product development to human resources. So how do you decide what’s worth your time? In this post, I’m not writing about how to weigh the merits of one strategic project versus another. Instead, I’ll write about prioritizing the frustrating little battles we’re drawn into that distract us from our strategic projects.
As the name implies, Givers like to give to other people. At home, this may mean being an attentive spouse, a thoughtful parent or a helpful roommate, always putting others’ needs ahead of their own. At work, they’re the same way: Their overarching mission is to give to the company, and they put the company and their co-workers ahead of themselves.