Startup managers face special demands – they must get very difficult things done, urgently,
- by other people (mostly strangers)
- while riding an unpredictable roller coaster (unknows around every corner)
- as they make daily progress along the ever-challenging startup trail (something unexpected pops up every day).
All managers have a tough job. Startup managers have the toughest. They are expected to know how to execute a plan that is sure to be changed daily, and do so brilliantly.
Managers figure out how to get people to do things they don’t want to do. For startup managers, their list of get-them-to-dos contains special managerial challenges:
- Hard things. Tougher than expected, a lot tougher.
- Things never been done before. First ever, unknowns.
- Boring things. Ordinary must-do things required day after day, dreaded by highly creative startup people.
- Emotionally draining things. Intense daily stresses, things and people dreaded by employees.
- Impossible things. Things others think cannot be accomplished.
- Vital things. Do them or the company will die.
- That list is extra challenging when the people are strangers, hired off the street, as fast as possible.
Ah, but there is more to that list:
- Creating an extremely complex technology that works.
- Surveying thousands of potential customers during many months fearing competitors will soon pass them up.
- Delivering a product that has fallen far behind schedule.
- Getting highly intelligent people to do work they think is useless.
- When business is booming, when it is crashing.
Getting people to do things they would rather not do is why managers are called bosses. They get results (through other people). Period. No excuses.
Startup managers are behavioral wizards, especially good as motivators. They have to be, it’s such an intense situation in which people are working that they are driven emotionally to shift to doing only the fun, creative, easy tasks. Startup managers are skilled at getting employees to do things they’d prefer to avoid and feel good in spite of all demands of the boss during the daily ups and downs along the startup trail.
Startup managers are the special people who execute the plan of the startup, making things happen, day after day. They build the startup into a working group of people delivering results, week after week. They are transforming the idea into a real business.
Visionaries and leaders often flop as managers. They typically succeed in limited scope, only able to inspire or lead. Execution of the plan must be done by others.
Often startup founders are recently graduated students with just a few years as an employee. High on enthusiasm and optimism, they lack significant track records as realistic managers. Many are highly creative individuals – perhaps a consumer fashion wiz or high-tech engineer -- lots of special talent but lacking what it takes to be a manager of people who must get amazing things done under demanding circumstances.
Visionaries may have a clever idea that could be the beginnings of the next great game changer startup. But they also represent a high business risk to venture investors. Without managers able to execute on the initial idea, its future is dim. Thus, founders with a network of managers eager to join them are super attractive to the people with the big venture bucks. Thus, it’s understandable that serial founders spend lots of time keeping their stable of managers active, ready to make the move to join then in their next new enterprise.
Startup managers are responsible for results. No excuses. Even though they are riding an unpredictable roller coaster. They transform the idea into a world-class enterprise. They execute the plan.
- Startup Managers Are Special
- Startup Managers Work in Turmoil.
- Pivot Managers Got Guts
- Recruiting and Organizing
- The Marketable CEO
- The Floundering Founder
- Focus on What’s Important
BOTTOM LINE: When you can manage all of that with skill, you have a powerful unfair advantage and are highly attractive to the finest startup leaders and their investors.
Stay tuned weekly for more!
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!