Create Your Own Destiny

Create Your Own Destiny

Ask my kids (or practically anyone else I work with) and they’ll relay what might be my favorite piece of advice: In life, you are always best served to put yourself in a position to control your own destiny.

Great Leaders Help Their Teams Succeed

Great Leaders Help Their Teams Succeed

The role of an organization’s leadership is to remove the barriers to its people’s success as much as possible. After all, nobody wants to do a poor job. Nobody wants to go to work and hate what they’re doing or feel like they’re running into a brick wall every day. They want to be productive and do things that move the needle.

How to Excel Professionally

How to Excel Professionally

It pains me to see people who aren’t excelling in their jobs — people in the wrong industry or at the wrong company, maybe even the wrong job function altogether. They go to work and they can’t make the impact they want because they’re not doing what they’re best at.

Hire Right: Finding the Ideal Team Player

Hire Right: Finding the Ideal Team Player

I’m often asked about making successful hiring decisions as a business owner. As a startup founder, who you hire is arguably the most important decision you can make for your business. Too many poor decisions — either wrong people or wrong seat in the organization — and your company is bound to fail.

The Framework for Startup Success

I’ve had my own share of startup successes and failures. Along the way I’ve learned a number of lessons that I now bring to every new company I’m involved with. And I’ve turned these lessons into a framework of sorts -- a structured way to prioritize what I think are critical pieces to a business’ early success.

That framework is comprised of three main parts:  putting together a team, establishing the right structure and establishing a successful culture.

Lessons in Business: Creating Startup Success

I’ve been building businesses for a long time. In fact, I started my first business during my sophomore year of college, selling thermoplastics to manufacturing companies (I have a Materials Engineering degree). Some of the companies I’ve been a part of have been quite successful, while others haven’t achieved what I’d hoped they could at the onset. 

Those successes and failures have taught me many lessons -- about identifying new ideas, choosing partners, my ideal role and more. Not every lesson has been easily or quickly learned, but they’ve all added up significantly for me. And I’ve used them to put together a simple framework that allows me to give new ventures the greatest chance of success.

Getting my Hands Dirty

Looking at my history, I’ve learned that most of my success has been realized from companies I’ve actively been involved with, at least in their early stages. This isn’t an ego driven observation; I’ve also learned through the years that I am not best at running a business day-to-day.

My strengths lie in recognizing talent, putting together a team, and, in the early stages of a start-up, providing guidance and direction based on what has worked for me (or not) over time.

It isn’t magic. It’s a hard-earned education gained by working in the trenches to build and grow a startup. But I’ve found that I am most comfortable with those things that have worked for me over time -- thought patterns and business methods I can believe in and can teach with conviction to those who embark on a business venture with me. It’s one of many ways to grow a business, but it’s my way.

Identifying What’s Important

As a startup or business founder you’re faced with thousands of interests competing for your attention. Yet, in the early stages it’s critical to focus only on the most important if you want to succeed. For me, this comes down to three factors:

  • Leadership
  • Structure
  • Culture

In my next piece, I’ll go into greater depth on each of these and discuss how they, together, form a framework essential to the success of a startup.