As CEO of Picatic I completely appreciate that the ‘buck stops with me’, as I’m accountable for all facets of Picatic, including our team. We recently added a new mentor and investor whose previous job was CEO of one the worlds largest mining companies and he was listed as one of Canada’s top 100 CEO earners.
Over the months we spent time negotiating terms and structure, I was offered many opportunities to sit, chat and learn from a true master. One story stuck out for me that I will never forget. It is a story of one mine, which flooded costing the company and shareholders a considerable amount of money. The CEO had no direct contact with the mine from a day to day operational standpoint. However, the lasting lesson that stuck with me was, the flood was his fault. Regardless of human error, environment or acts of god it comes down to accountability. He explained to me, he could have hired better, put better systems in place, asked more questions etc. etc. The lesson was clear; It’s all about choosing the right people and creating a powerful team.
It was amazing and humbling when this CEO mentioned that his team was more gifted, stronger and smarter at their respective jobs then he was in those same areas. In fact, he mentioned that many times, if not the majority of the time is was the reason why he look great! I can not agree more with this statement.
At the beginning of Picatic, we started like most startups do, bootstrapping. Thus, we are good at many aspects and masters of none. As we have grown so has our team which directly impacts our products, features and services.
Being the CEO and the company face, praise of our new growth and new services often times comes directly to me which is far from where credit is due. Picatic’s growth and advancement is because of a phenomenal team. I wish I could take all the credit, but the reality is that this team is second to none and they have developed a habit of making me [us] look great.
Having a great team is like having a great relationship, it takes work and dedication. Here are a few key point that we work on each day:
Good sense of humor – The team understands they work in startup. Each day they come to work, their job is to deal with and solve problems. Frustrations can get the best of a team at times, however our team has set a culture of encouraging each other, laughing at each other and ourselves. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. Which leads to the next point.
Leave ego’s at the door – Building a startup is hard, really hard! And it’s done through teamwork, cooperation and communication. Nothing sucks more than being with someone who thinks they know it all, is super opinionated and a poor listener. What I’m saying is simple ~ don’t be a douche bag! Everyone on the team is important, valued and is encouraged to speak up – a great idea is one conversation or thought away. From my experience, big egos limit conversation, hinder the sharing of ideas and squash creativity. Our team, as we have gotten to know each other, identifies each others weaknesses and works towards building those into strengths. We also work on our own flaws to become stronger members.
Everyone is on the same page – The team understands that we’re in a race to succeed. As a team we have clearly outlined our goals and KPI’s needed for that success to occur. We don’t keep score or hours, who worked late or who came in early. Those are non factors, our montra is clear: GET SHIT DONE!
Open to constructive criticism – It’s amazing to see our team members take constructive criticism only to help the team grow. They truly understand that criticism is not directed to them as an individual, but as a function to the piece of work that they are doing at that time. What is truly amazing, is that the team has developed a safe environment for self criticism. Many times they will start off a statement with; I am failing with in this part of my job and I intend to do [this] to rectify the situation.
Every player wants to be the best – Our team appreciates that we have much to learn and has not and will not settle. They are always pushing the envelope and thirsty to learn more. The sense of learning and sharing makes coming to work fun. Also surrounding yourself with a group of people that think in terms of “why the hell not”, vs. “we can’t…” is contiguous and exhilarating.
Extremely skilled – It’s a pleasure watching every team member do their job. When you see great people doing great things, it’s hard to complain! And it’s extremely motivating.
Communication – Our team is close, in fact we are family. Those of you who have siblings know they can get on your nerves or sometimes they are the closest person to you when you unleash your fury. In order to avoid blowouts, our team has come up with communication foundations. If you have a problem with someone on the team, it is your responsibility to talk to them first and only them. No one on the team wakes up, thinking or hoping that they are going to frustrate someone else on the team. In fact, quite the opposite. Intentions are always good. It’s amazing how much can be solved with a two minute conversation, which prevents huge amounts of poisonous drama.
As a startup, we build, measure and learn based on our product, traction, market, etc. When you think about it, product does not build itself, it’s done by a team. If your team does not have the basics of communication and respect, how will it work together to build sexy products for the market? With that said, I want to be clear; we are nowhere close to being the perfect team! But, I will tell you this, we work everyday to get better.
CEO of Picatic