KOCHI: Usually when we talk about startups we talk about its founders. We hardly discuss anything about the employees. Everyone just has a lot gyan on how founders should manage their time or should pivot or raise funds but what about its core employees? – the ones who are actually the body of the startup – without whom the startup will never succeed. In today’s column, I will be talking to all you startup employees!
We hear a lot about how initial employees grow big when the startup blooms. We hear stories about how a fresh college graduate turned into a company director or a VP or even a CXO. But to really grow to these levels, there is more than just “luck” of being at the right place at the right time. And let’s dig deep on this today! Most startup employees are fresh college graduates (or in initial years) and some are still studying. What this really means is that while they will be very energetic, passionate and fresh to their approach, they will likely lack in four things: 1) Leadership 2) Corporate Professionalism 3) Experience in handling tough situations 4) Network
And if you really want to grow big in a startup, you need to pick these four qualities as soon as possible. The quicker you pick up, the quicker you make yourself valuable and indispensable and quicker you earn the right to claim a seat at the table. We will take one topic today – “Leadership” and the rest three next week.
When a fresh college graduate joins, he is often told what to do, how to do and by when to do. His boss, primarily the founder decides what next project this employee will work on; he will be told on how he should solve this problem and lastly what’s the deadline for this. Now if you are this employee, you should realize that you need to grow out of this. Because unless you are doing this, you are replaceable. Because you are like a machine which is just executing. There is no brain being put behind the tasks. Here’s how you do that:
1) Firstly, see if you can meet the deadlines faster than expected.
2) Then figure out the “how” part. So that the next time founder tells you to do something, you need not run to him and ask “how should I do it?”. Once you figure out “how to do it” by yourself, you will save a lot of time of your founders.
3) Lastly, once you master first two points, figure out “what to do”. Go with a proposal on what next thing you can work on that will benefit your startup. Once you figure out the “whats” you have cracked the leadership problem for first level. Because now you can get one or two kids in your tutelage who will execute the current projects while you can focus on cracking more of “whats next”.
If you have any queries, write to Rajeev@TBSPlanet.com
Rajeev Tamhankar is IIT-R Alumnus, Entrepreneur of The Year’17 (Print Business) and the Founder of TBS Planet Comics