Learning Resources: Find the Right Startup Team

Find the Right Startup Team


Cofounder Questionnaire

Structured Interview Hiring Process Summary

Not what but Who

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins creates a lasting and memorable metaphor by comparing a business to a bus and the leader as a bus driver. He emphasises that it is crucial to continuously ask “First Who, Then What?” You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you. Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision. In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.


12 Ways to Turn A Group Of Individuals Into A High Performing Team

12 Ways to Turn A Group Of Individuals Into A High Performing Team | Fit to Lead | Blog

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Many leaders have high IQs, some (of the very good ones!) also have high EQs (Emotional Intelligence) but only the minority have high WeQs (Collaborative Intelligence).

Too often, you come across teams with individual IQs of 120 or more where the team functions at a WeQ of 70 or less, meaning they’re performing at less than the sum of their parts.

All of us will have unfortunately spent time in dysfunctional teams where, for example, winning a discussion is more important than getting the best outcome, individual goals are prioritised over team goals, interpersonal attacks are happening behind people’s backs and where people are too fearful to say what they really think.

Hopefully, you have also spent time in a high performing team where there is clarity about goals and roles, no elephants are left in the room, there is open conflict and debate which is both challenging and supportive and where you keep each other honest and accountable.

Most CEOs understand why teams are important (e.g. teams usually outperform individuals or groups of individuals) but very few Founder CEOs are skilled at creating a really high performing senior leadership team.

Creating a real team involves everyone in the team taking risks involving conflict, hard work, interdependence and trust. It can be a messy and challenging process transitioning an ordinary team to an extraordinary one but ultimately hugely rewarding.

The ‘best practices’ Mark talks about in this essay are not meant to be exhaustive (although twelve is quite a lot!) or prescriptive but more of a guide to help your team find its unique way of achieving high performance.

Founders Agreements for UK Start-ups

Founders agreements are one of the most important legal documents when you start a new venture. But many of the founders we talk to put off creating a founders agreement, thinking it’s just a time-sucking formality without any teeth.

Actually, it’s mission critical for early stage companies to have this important contract in place – for founders, the company itself and future investors.

SeedLegals recognises the importance of founders agreements and have created an essential free guide for use:

Free Founders Agreements for UK Startups I SeedLegals

How to Hire

How to Hire – Carta

This article is an excerpt from a talk given by Henry Ward, CEO of Carta at a Carta Town Hall meeting during which he addressed the difficulties faced by companies when hiring.

Much like startup performance follows a power law, so do startup employees. The most effective employees create 20x more leverage than an average employee. This is not true in an efficiency company—the best employees might work 2x faster than their peers. But in a high-leverage startup like Carta’s, the effectiveness gap between employees can be multiple orders of magnitude.

What are pre-employment tests?

What Are Pre-Employment Tests? | Criteria Corp

Pre-employment tests are an objective, standardised way of gathering data on candidates during the hiring process. All professionally developed, well-validated pre-employment tests have one thing in common: they are an efficient and reliable means of gaining insights into the capabilities and traits of prospective employees. Depending on the type of test being used, pre-employment assessments can provide relevant information on a job applicant’s ability to perform in the workplace.

As a result, pre-employment tests should only be one element within a comprehensive set of criteria used to evaluate applicants, including resumes, interviews, job experience, education, and anything else that is relevant for a position. Pre-employment tests provide the most value when applied at the top of the hiring process to screen out candidates who aren’t a good fit. Ultimately, however, organisations that use tests are making their final decisions based on many factors, of which tests should be one important component. Companies should expect tests to streamline and improve the hiring process, not replace it.

Founders Agreements for UK Start-ups

Who: The A Method for Hiring | Randy Street | Talks at Google

In this video Randy Street summarises his book Who: The A Method for Hiring


The case for diversity

The Case for Team Diversity Gets Even Better | HBR

We know intuitively that innovation goals are well served by cross-functional “SWAT” teams that are diverse in their membership. As Andy Zynga argued in an earlier post, diversity is a means to overcome the cognitive biases that prevent people from seeing new approaches or engaging them when found. But while this 9 Module 4 further reading seems only logical, is there empirical evidence to support it? When such diversity is enforced can we expect it to produce results? How do we know “more is better”?


Practical Ways to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process

7 Practical Ways to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process | Rebecca Knight | HBR Article

A vast body of research shows that the hiring process is biased and unfair. Unconscious racism, ageism, and sexism play a big role in who gets hired. But there are steps you can take to recognize and reduce these biases. Where should you start? And how can you help others on your team do the same?

Why Employee Referrals are the Best Way to Hire

Here is Why Employee Referrals are the Best Way to Hire | Paul Petrone | LinkedIn Article

The more you research it, the more it becomes clear: almost always, the first step of any hiring process should be asking your existing employees if they know someone good for the role.

Why? Research shows getting a referral is a cheaper way to hire, a faster way to hire, generally produces a better hire and lowers the turnover rate at your company.