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3 Questions Every Startup Member Should be Mindful of

If you are reading this article, you most likely consider yourself to be a high performer. You are up to date on the latest news in your industry and consider yourself extremely competent in your job. Well, I’m about to challenge you with some old-school managerial questions that should be the foundation of how you work and carry yourself through life. In fact, if you cannot answer these three questions very quickly, then you are probably missing out on a big opportunity to improve your results both in and outside of work.

The concept I’m referring to is from Peter Ducker’s very short and very on-point book called “Managing Oneself”. Even if you have read the book, I always think it’s good to revisit the thinking to audit if you are following your core strengths.

The first question from Ducker’s book that you should be able to answer sounds simple - “Are you a reader or listener?” The answer to this questions points to how you best communicate with the world. You should know this because it should help you shape how you design your world within your startup as far as communications. As you design your world within a startup, it always benefits you to build around your strengths. If you find that you absorb and respond to communications best through reading, ensure you get written words to backup your communications. If you find that you are a better listener, ensure you hold meetings in person or over voice/video call. This might sound simple, but it is easy to forget when you are not mindful of designing your work around leveraging your core strengths.

The second question you should consider is , “How do you learn best?” I know you are probably thinking that you learn in many different ways. This is true, however; the key word in this question is “best”. Everyone is unique, so learning can be weighted heavily one way versus others. The most common channels of learning are those such as reading, listening, talking, writing, drawing, etc… For example, after going through this exercise, I realized I’m best at absorbing content through reading and I learn most effectively through writing my thoughts (surprise, surprise - I’m writing this blog post to do more learning with anyone who cares to join me).

The third question you need to ask yourself is, “What are your values?” This sounds a little soft at first, however; stay with me for a moment. The idea behind this question is to make sure that what you personally consider important is aligned with what your company values. Is your company fair to employees and customers in a way that you believe makes sense in your soul? As a startup team member it’s especially important that you believe in the company mission as well. If you don’t believe in the mission, you will find yourself rolling your eyes at all the communications going out from the company - not to mention you will feel uncomfortable discussing what you do and why you do it with everyone you know. As you would quickly figure out, the idea of not fully embracing and believing in your startup’s core mission is a recipe for half-ass execution and performance - and everyone knows… no one has time for that.

So, even if you were fully aware and able to answer your strength questions above, just use this as a reminder to stay mindful to design and optimize your work/life when possible. It’s always a good idea to consider your strengths when working internally and externally of your startup.

From my personal experience at Wafer Messenger, another great thing about working from your strengths is you and others tend to be happier in general. Working at your best with the least resistance makes everything about work better. The Wafer team is actually in the process of redesigning our product’s messaging UI to optimize what we learned based on our own team communication dynamics. I will share more on the user experience update, and how it relates to optimizing communication, next week.)

After you know yourself, then the next level of performance can come from assessing those around you. Perhaps think of ways to set up your team members, leaders, and customers for success by designing interactions that help to accentuate their strengths. Designing thinking around people’s strengths in a startup is capable of helping your team and company to push further into those exponential returns you need to keep moving forward.

Thanks for reading. Now the question I have for you - are you and your team optimized to release its unique strengths?

About me: I’m mostly focused on internet growth, culture, and startups and am the COO at Wafer Inc. When I can find time between being a co-founder and life I enjoy writing, mostly here and occasionally on Linkedin. If you enjoy my writing, subscribe or follow me on LinkedIn to see more in the future.


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