I am not Ukrainian, but I lived in Kyiv before the war started for one year. I know exactly why Russia is going to lose this war soon. Why? The current Ukrainian CEO cares a lot about the people of Ukraine. The truth is on their side also, but love is something that creates deep motivation, uncovers their inner beast and breaks every wall.
I worked with one founder who is a well-known marketer and who was just pushing people and didn’t care about them at all. He is the kind of person who always finds people responsible for their failures. We stopped all business relationships with him. But before that 3 people left my company pointing out this founder as the reason. In the long run, such a founder is at risk to lose the best people at the wrong moments.
How can founders who don’t love and care for their teams build even the smallest companies? This question always puzzled me. In fact, they do it and do it quite often. I think the short answer is that such founders pretend to care, while they actually don’t. This question is not the main thing I wanted to explore here, but if you have a better answer or a story to share, please, send it to me.
Now let’s talk about two things that make founders successful.
Take care of the team
This seems very obvious to me, but I see many founders who miss the point. The best way to get maximum results from your team is to take care of them. Make sure every member of your team is comfortable working with others. Create a culture that cares about people on every level.
All of that helps you find people who will help you create a great product and stay with you at difficult times.
There are the kinds of founders who care about others without any effort. I know a few, who always start every conversation with friendly questions that show their care: - “How was the first year in a new school for your daughter?” - “Are you still working on your side marketing project?”
Such founders remember things that are important to you. This founder trait helps to build successful companies.
When you care, you get the best results out of your team and your team would always be open to working again with you through the years, even if your current business fails.
You can do two following things to start caring for your team:
- find work or position in the company that makes employee enjoy their work more;
- get personal and ask if they are doing okay in their lives and support them if you can.
These things are great to start, but in the long run you’ll find your own path to caring about your team. Now you know exactly what is important to build a successful company.
Ask for results
Most people are sluggish when the team leads are in charge of their success. They need to be directed and helped to achieve more.
It might be tempting to spend time reading social networks or chatting with friends, but nothing makes people happier than a sense of achievement and deep appreciation.
When founders ask their team to get more results in a shorter time, they help individuals to be happier and more successful. I’d also like to speak about burnout here (which I consider a real thing). All of us need a break to regain inner energy and return to creativity.
Some people — founders also fall into this category — are workaholics and need to be pushed to go on vacation. Mostly, you just need to be reminded from time to time that going on vacation is a good thing. But I believe that burnouts rarely happen because founders ask for results.
The result is proof that something we do creates value and helps others. Results and small wins make your team happy and all you need to do is to appreciate them.
Founders often think If they ask too much they might be doing the wrong thing. I believe this is one of the most common traps founders get into. Not asking for results is the really wrong thing. Companies that do not produce results have higher chances of failure.
Even if they’re not failing, they’re not growing at the speed they could. That makes your team less successful.
For team members, who work with founders, creating a lot of A+ results is the best way to grow. Those employees, who push as hard as they would in their own business, always win. They either help build a more successful company and stay there.
Or they end up creating their own company using everything they learned while producing results for others.
Research on 20 founders
In my small research of around 20 founders I worked with and discovered a few interesting things:
- Founders who cared about their team, but didn’t ask about results, were less successful. In fact, at least 4 businesses failed and a few others barely make their living today.
- Three founders, who cared about their teams and asked for lots of results, became the most successful. All of them sent me a message offering their help, when my family and I were on the way from Kyiv to Poland on February 24th.
Written by Andrew Orsich. Thanks to Elena Lysiakova for reading drafts of this.