Validation -> Scaling
Once the MVP is validated and we want to scale most of us will focus on getting whatever it takes to scale up and capitalise. Before we scale up the, every one present at the organisation has to understand the direction and strongly believe what the founders stand for. When scaling lots of things change, the first and profound impact is on the culture. Culture of the workplace is the guard of the values and principles in what the founders believe and built the startup.
How can we ensure we that the culture will always reflect the values and principles of the startup?
The first step is being vocal about what the company stands for and the tenets which are non negotiable. This is easy to set up when there very few members but enough checks have to be in place where any violation of the principles are immediately acted upon or decision are always made in line with those.
How can we put a system in place that people at every maturity level will understand the values and principles the company stands for?
People at different maturity levels have different capacity to handle abstractions. People at the early stage of their career will be happy to understand the practices and implement them. Once some one gains some experience then guidelines are enough for them, people who are at the leadership level will be mature enough to directly work with the principles and values. So all these levels of rephrasing is necessary and it should be frequently revisited to make sure it reaches the right audience in the right way.
How do we know that the right message has reached the right audience?
Communication problems are the toughest of all to solve irrespective of how complex is the business or technology domain. Retrospectives where the founders & leaders are present along with a set of team members solving a particular problem helps. There are lots of materials in the public domain to find out how to run a retrospective and still make it safe for everyone to voice out their concern.
How can we ensure that people at all levels will be able to defend what the company stands for?
Feedback is always regarded as top down performance appraisal but if done right it is an effective tool in the arsenal to communicate freely. The people should be educated to talk to each other in the interest of the company and not personal judgements or prescription on how to work. A good way to make sure people talk to each other without holding information is to remove the importance of grades and titles in day to day work. No rank pulling or top down orders.
How will every one work towards a common goal if there are no top down goal setting?
Like how different levels of abstractions are necessary for people to understand the values and principles, there is a need for different types of goals. For a new starter just out of college, the focus is on the getting the requirements right along with learning the technology. So given a direction of the team and help them to understand their part will promote a good sense of ownership towards one's goals. The same idea is progressively applied, a team lead will have to understand where his/her team fits in the company's path and come up with the goals for the team and self. This is slightly more time consuming than the leadership setting goals for their individuals but the sense of ownership is too strong.
Summary - People have to understand and own the company's values & principles, every individual according to their maturity level, should be helped to arrive at an understanding on how they can impact the company's goal and own it. Feedback and retrospective are the best tools to make people be vocal, for this to happen remove the illusion of ranks and grades in day to day work.
Outline/structure of the Session
3 min - Intro - What is Recruiterbox?
15 mins - Our challenges, how we addressed and the impact on us
2 min - Recap
People growth & common understanding are key areas to focus on in the validation stage before we begin to scale.