Be Aware - a startup series (part 6/6)
Being aware is much more than attention to detail and I believe is the most critical part in this series. By being aware, there is so much more you can contribute, so much more you can process, and you will arrive at a better solution, better team, and better experience by being aware.
What do I mean by being aware?
Being aware of what? What do I need to be aware of, pitfalls, bugs, code smells, people, the smell of the coffee in the other room? WHAT?! What I mean by "being aware" is a combination of things. Be aware of how your product is helping others. Be aware of what your product is delivering. Be aware of how you perceived by your clients, by your team, by the world around you. Reputation is everything, ask Ryan Lochte, and it is hard to fix a bad reputation. If you are aware of how you are perceived then you can create the reality you want. You want your product to be loved, not just used.
Create an emotional bond
Being aware of how your product/service is perceived is key to being able to make improvements early. MailChimp has a high-five at the end of sending an email campaign. It is silly, it is quirky, but it is so popular that there is even a game they created from that (fast-fives). It is that kind of brand loyalty you can create by making a product that is aware of the customer's need, not just in function but in fun. I love the saying, "We put the fun in functional". It is the fun, the joy that creates that emotional bond.
Be Aware of Your Team
Being aware of your team is critical to maintaining a successful product. We all work hard (or should, I've seen a lot of lazy people in recent years). We are also human, we like to be seen, to be treated with respect, and to be heard (see Listen First in this series). To build and maintain a strong team it takes a few simple things to be aware of...
Be aware of the team dynamic
How do they interact, do they enjoy each other, do they have fun while working?
Be aware of time off
Encourage vacations, allow them to leave early, saying that isn't enough. You need to do it yourself as a leader. Be aware of abuse of time off also, we should all be on the same field going the same direction.
Be aware of your leadership
Encourage breaks by taking them yourself and inviting people to come with you. Having a social event that you don't attend says a lot of its importance. Reach out and share your insecurities and flaws, that is what makes you human and more relatable which builds trust. We think if we look strong 100% of the time we are good leaders, but it is the human-side that makes us good leaders. Be aware of how you are perceived, not how you think you are perceived.
This ends this series of startup culture and things to help build a solid MVP and a strong team. Let me know if you have any questions, I'd love to hear any comments!