founders

Which type of founder are you?

Which type of founder are you? 300 169 Emma Obanye

Building a company is hard; you need confidence, optimism, and talent to become an entrepreneur. You need to put the hard work to make a company which stands the test of time.

Nobody says that it’s easy – you will run into challenges and bumps no matter how hard you work. But what if it’s the type of founder that you are that is causing problems to occur?

Every founder is entirely different, and everybody runs their team completely different. There’s really no right way to do this, it’s a bit like parenting…but instead of a child it’s a business.

So, below we’ve put together a little fun guide of what type of founder you are, the challenges it may cause you and your time. Don’t take it too seriously, though.

  1. The operator

This type of founder sits behind everything, they will know the ins and outs of every single little bit – even getting involved in some things.

They’ll be in and out of various different departments and teams, making sure that they understand everything about it.

The good thing about an operator is that they are in touch with their team. When you take the time out of your day to learn about different roles, you’ll also understand the challenges your organization faces. No doubt, your team look up to you and feel that they can come to you with any problems.

The downside to being an operator is that you might micromanage. This is basically where you step in too much, and it may start to infuriate your team. What you should take away from this is that you don’t have to overlook and manage everything – your team is more capable than you might think.

2. Drivers

These are a little bit different to operators, in the sense that they sit at the front and don’t tend to look back – unless it’s an emergency.

Drivers can be spotted from their, well, drive. They push everything to go one step further, and the company is continuously moving in a forward direction. Drivers are great at making their business successful, and always break down barriers.

The only issue that might arise is that you might forget to check up on all your passengers. How are your team doing? Even the ones right at the back?  Make sure you’re aware of any problems or struggles in your group?

3. The visionary

Ah, the visionary – so many of the best founders are defined as visionaries. They create an entirely new product and always plan forward. Think, Steve Jobs.

You really are geniuses – you have this knack of knowing exactly what product will become successful, way before their time. You know the market before that market exists.

Visionaries always run into problems – mainly people just not understanding. Our tip to you is to put effort, thought and time into explaining your idea to everyone else – not everyone has your brain.

4. The Crusader

Crusader often has quite violent/demanding connotations attached to it. However, as a founder being a crusader isn’t precisely the same as a medieval fighter.

You will campaign vigorously and valiantly for your company and idea. You’re extraordinarily protective and passionate, and this shows with your work and in your team. Often people respect you albeit being a little bit scared of you.

Crusaders often struggle with any accepting any type of change to their idea or team – this is something you need to let your pride down about.

5. The connector

Connectors are like the social animals of the founder world. They look networking and seem to have a phone number for every type of person that you need. This is undeniably a great way to be as a founder.

Connectors have the charisma and connections to attract people to their company and grow. Everybody wants to either know a connector or be one. It’s just a fact.

That being said, connectors can lose sight of the bigger picture – they’re so busy thinking about being liked and accepted by everybody that they fail to criticise or say no to anybody. They tend to be people pleasers. Founders have to be able to say ‘no.’

6. The chill one

You probably think that we’re going to utterly scrutinize chill founders. That just isn’t the case, though. Founders that are a little more reserved can run teams that are creative, innovative and have a lot of fun. This reduces the chance of your team quitting and allows everybody to excel and prosper.

Obviously, as a founder, you will need to start being more involved and a little harsher. This will allow your company to grow.

7. The Explorer

Explorers just love puzzle solving and experiencing new things. They actively seek out new tools, new ways to manage and try to understand every new complex system.

They’ll also explore into traditional ways of managing – everything new is exciting to them. This creates one of the most surprising teams and encourages your company to be ahead of the crowd at all times.

However, explorers run the risk of introducing just too many new ideas and concepts into a team. Sometimes, what your company really wants is stability. Sure change is good, but adding too many new tools and concepts too often will just confuse your team.

You might be more than one of these founders, and that’s completely fine. Like we said, there’s no right or wrong way to run your company, and as time goes on, you’ll discover the best ways to run it.

If you’re running into challenges, it might be because of the type of founder that you are.

Do you have any other ideas about the different types of founders there are? Let us know via the comments below :).

How I applied Agile principles to all areas of my startup

How I applied Agile principles to all areas of my startup 250 167 Emma Obanye

Agile principles were created as a solution to all the challenges that traditional teams had. Initially, they focused on software development, later evolving into overall team managing methodologies.

This shift towards agile principles signifies a significant shift in attitudes, with many teams all over the world adopting them for their teams.

I applied agile principles to my startup and felt the benefits almost immediately. I wanted to share this, so, other teams might be encouraged to emulate or use my own ideas.

What are the agile principles?

There are 12 agile principles. These are:

1.Customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery of useful software

2.Welcome changing requirements, even late in development

3. Frequently delivered software

4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers

5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted

6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication

7.Collocation and pair programming

8.Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace

9.Excellence through reflection

10.Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done

11.Self-organizing teams

12.Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

All of these were designed to increase the success of your projects, making sure productivity remains high and that there are no interruptions to the flow of development. So, how did I apply these agile principles to all areas of my startup?

The ones that stand out

All of the 12 agile principles support project management. However, principles 2, 8 and 10 are probably the easiest ones, to begin with. Welcoming changing requirements, sustainable development, and simplicity. These were the three points that I started with.

Changing requirements in a startup are probably the most common factor. The problem is, most teams struggle to adapt to them, and so find themselves stuck. Unable to move forward. This was one of the first steps that I made to turn my team into an agile one. This also covers principle 12

Sustainable development, I feel, goes hand-in-hand with this. Growth should come natural, and an ability to maintain a constant pace is something that your team should strive towards. No off-days, and no super busy days when you can avoid them. Just a continuous flow of progress.

Now, the art of maximising the amount of work not done has always been a confusing point in Agile. In my start-up I’ve translated it to, everything can be improved. Nothing is ever not-finished, which means that minimise the minimise the output and maximise the outcome. We shouldn’t be striving for a finish line, just goals to be made, and making a difference.

Communication

Number six was another of the first principles I adopted. Although, seemingly effortless, when you’re running a team it can be hard. However, I always make time every week to have a face-to-face conversation with my team. It’s really the only way to get honest answers, and authenticity in your organization.

No more checking up over emails, a meeting face-to-face, some way or another is the best way to talk to your team.

Number four is a principle that also lies in communication. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers. Too often, we don’t communicate or cooperate with other teams, people or developers. Having regular communication with other developers really helped. I did this emailing, calling and face-to-face interviews.

Communication is significant in agile teams, and it allows us to make informed decisions, and be clear on how happy everybody is in the group.

Principle number one: Customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery of useful software, also revolves around communication. You must always be ready to check up on your customers and make sure that they are super happy with everything you’re providing them. After all, you have to make sure your customers are satisfied – they are always right.

Communication, in an agile way, shouldn’t be long, critical meetings. It should be useful encounters, where both parties exit feeling positive and refreshed.

Excellence through reflection

In my startup, this basically meant that everybody had to reflect on their work, and see how they can improve. Regular check-ins, and self-analysis was the best way that I achieved this. Rather than through lengthy board meetings.

Again, incorporating other principles, this also meant that we would be focusing on velocity and capacity, rather than the time it took to complete.

Self-organising teams.

This point is absolutely something that agile beautifully masters. My startup embraced everything that came with this amazingly.

Too often, as team managers, we micromanage. Basically, we double check everything our employees are doing, make sure every idea is passed through multiple people, and it just makes the team feel less motivated. Micromanagement is never good, and agile doesn’t go hand-in-hand with this.

I created a working Trello board of projects and tasks, creating a backlog of jobs and prioritising others. This creates the perfect organising tool, which allows teams to just get on with it.

Frequently delivered software

I’ve spoken to many other agile teams who believe this is crucial to agile. No surprise as to why. Without regularly producing software that matters, none of the other agile principles will really matter.

My team uses the other principles, especially the Trello board, to ensure that they are regularly pushing for a release schedule. This helps work against the “never done” part of agile.

Trust in your team

With principle five, it came super easy. I trust my team, and I know their individual strengths and skills. I would never try to diminish this from them, or make them work in a role that doesn’t wholly suit them.

Point five – Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted. I did precisely this, and continue to do this. I listen to my team, and find ways that they work their very best. There’s no one size fits all in a team.

Co-location and pair programming

Last, but by no means least is point number seven. It’s basically the idea that two programmers will work together at one workstation. One will be the driver, and the other is the navigator/reviewer. Both are crucial roles, and this method works perfectly together.

The two roles will switch their roles frequently.

I found all these principles easy to apply to my own startup. First and foremost, because they make complete sense. Secondly, because they are, in my opinion, the best way to manage a team.

A team that feels free, inspired and successful, will continue to produce some of the best work, and that’s always the goal.

How did you apply your agile principles to your business? I would love to share (and perhaps copy) some of your ideas.

10 startup books every founder should read

10 startup books every founder should read 320 218 Emma Obanye

1We love reading – it’s one of the many hobbies that keep us relaxed, centred and motivated.

We’ve found that reading can help with our productivity, unleashing our creative side.

Studies have also shown that reading can help with your cognitive ability, and memory. From this, we like to dedicate sections of our day to reading, why wouldn’t we?

We’ve found a new love for inspirational books, ones that are not only great fun to read but can teach us a little something along the way, too.

Below are our top picks of books that founders need to read. You won’t regret it.

1. Heart and Hustle: Use your Passion, Build your brand. Achieve your dreams by Patricia Bright

We’ve been devout fans of Patricia Bright for years now, and when we discovered that she had released a book – we just had to get it.

She talks you through growing up in South London and giving up her 9-5 to do something that she really wanted to do.

This book will transform not only how you look at work, but success and life.

What we particularly loved about this is the attitude that exhumed from each page. You feel like you’re reading one of her YouTube videos if that makes sense?

2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S Dweck

We found this one particularly interesting, as it taught us about the different mindsets, teaching us about the psychology behind our own brains. It’s always nice to be able to understand our own minds a little better.

The whole book is extremely enlightening. It focuses on how your mindset can affect the way you live your life, and very often lead it.

This is perfect for founders as, just as the book explains, our mindsets can prevent us from succeeding/doing what we truly love in life.

3. Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg

We always shy away from reading books like these, as they very often seem to revel in some kind of rich, privileged women mantra. However, this book is a little different, as it revolves around leadership.

It’s an informative book about making decisions and running with them. It also touches on inequality, predominately in finance in technology. For this, we especially enjoyed reading it.

This book helped us tackle our fear of being judged, fear of failure and fear of inadequacy.

This book isn’t just for women; it can help others to understand how women feel in the workplace, and the steps you can take to support them. All in all, making you a better founder.

4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

One of the most challenging tasks revolving around being a founder is writing the mission statement, and searching for your dream.

The elaborate on the idea that nobody really cares what you do, which might come as a shock to many. They just want to know why you’re doing it – that’s the most important thing.

Learning to focus on the ‘why’ and not the ‘what’ is revolutionary for any founder. So, if you’re struggling, this book is definitely the one for you.

5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team but Patrick Lencioni

We’ve read our fair share of non-fiction books on teamwork, so, when we came across this fictional one, we fell in love.

Te examples of dysfunctional teams are presented in a fictional way, overall making it fun, and informative to read.

The themes they touch on are Commitment, focus, engagement, and trust. We all know, choosing the right team is crucial for your company’s success.

6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

We know, you might have already heard about this. It does have mixed reviews; we mainly put this down to being written in the late eighties. Times have changed, we get that.

What you should take from this book is; there are habits and actions that you can make every day. These can help you with your success, and promote a successful business.

Of course, adapt this however you want, and try and change it to fit the 21st century. There’s a reason this book is so popular, after all.

7. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

The moment we put this book down, we just wanted to create something, do something, try something new, make the world a better place. That’s the impact it had on us.

Not only that, it had the fantastic ability to make us feel more confident, especially in our start up.

You can see the level of effort that went into this book. It’s an inspiring book, which leaves you questioning; “if nobody tries to make a change, the world will never change.”

8. Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

As much as we hear about the importance of learning from our mistakes, this can sometimes be difficult.

This book helped us understand that disorder, as stressful as it may be, can actually help us. In fact, several societies have thrived when disorder takes place.

9. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

It took us a while to learn this – the people that are the loudest, aren’t always the ones with the best thoughts.

This helped our introverted sides feel less alone and more positive in our start up. It also allowed our extroverted selves to learn something about ourselves too.

10. The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz

We always welcome a book into our lives that changes our perspective on the world.  

Too much choice can be overwhelming and can lead to wasting time. Too little of choice can be limiting. This book will help improve your productivity, by addressing these issues.

It’s definitely a game-changer.

Well, that’s our top ten books for founders. We hope that you can find some inspiration from this list.

Let us know if you decided to read any of these, and what you thought of them.

Why should I join a mastermind group?

Why should I join a mastermind group? 1500 728 Emma Obanye

Besides personal accountability mastermind groups provide you with a myriad of great benefits. These benefits include the following:

  • Personal accountability for forward planning and thinking per meeting that you attend. You will also experience personal accountability for implementing those plans and ideas. [24]. Most successful growth can be attributed to personal accountability since you know that someone is waiting for you to follow through or is reliant on your follow through of your plans. With personal accountability, you are pushed to deliver and give more of yourself. The result is greater growth in your career, business, and personal life.
  • Networking grows rapidly and exponentially. You get to access the networks of other members and share your own networks. This puts you in touch with other key experts and opens the door for future collaboration and opportunities. [26]
  • Opportunities to learn new skills, solutions, and tactics from group members as you share and interact with each other. [26]. This can also apply to the opportunities that will arise thanks to your growing network. Growth is inevitable in mastermind groups.
  • Constructive feedback from people in your niche who want to see you grow and succeed [24]. Both you and other group members are able to benefit from sharing expertise and experience and receiving it from each other. [26]. Although feedback is hard for most of us to give or receive, you’ll benefit more from the personal accountability and growth feedback will bring to your success and business growth. In addition, you may also find yourself gaining experience in giving and receiving constructive feedback which you can integrate into your work environment.
  • Think bigger with mastermind groups as they stretch your boundaries, break down boxes, and challenge you to think beyond your current situation [26]. You’ll also be challenged to think from different angles thus enhancing your creative thinking.
  • Opportunities to learn new skills, solutions, and tactics from the group members as you share and interact with each other [26]. The group most probably will create exercises and opportunities to test out new ideas and skills learned each week. Or you may find yourselves working through a workbook based on a specific topic agreed upon by the group to further understanding and knowledge.
  • Further collaboration opportunities present themselves as you get to know other members. Not only do you work together in group activities, brainstorming, and discussion, you may also find someone who fits your latest project endeavors.
  • Exclusive community and support. A mastermind group provides you with a community of like-minded people who can easily become your tribe, a people who understand you, support you, and think similarly to you. In such an exclusive community, personal accountability rises and for some people may be easier since greater levels of trust are established. Many mastermind groups are strict with who comes into the group because they are looking for like-minded people who can commit to high levels of participation and commitment. This provides that exclusive community and high levels of support and personal accountability.

Given these benefits, mastermind groups are responsible for many business owners, entrepreneurs, and career people’s success in business. Find your mastermind group or create your own and reap these benefits and more. Watch your career and business soar thanks to mastermind groups.