/ clientcase

Client case: Team assessment and development Start-ups

Until recent the selection of teams for a global accelerator program embodied a two-day series of interviews with subject-matter experts, marketeers, investors and entrepreneurs. Despite this thorough selection our client noticed that the success of startups was largely dependent upon the quality of teamwork and communication within the team. With the help of Facet5 TeamScape the team dynamics became visible and open for discussion. The team report turned out to be a valuable predictor of success of the startups.

Read below the interview with our client at Startupbootcamp:

Never has there been such focus and attention on entrepreneurship than in today’s business world. With crowdfunding websites becoming ever-more popular and a multitude of startups making headlines in virtually every industry, there has never been more opportunity to start something new. But with opportunity comes risk, and while many entrepreneurs are tenaciously following their dream, in such a highly competitive global market, not all of them will succeed.

How important is personality in entrepreneurial success?
According to Patrick de Zeeuw, co-founder of Startupbootcamp Global, startup success all boils down to a few crucial elements. "Half of the time when a startup fails, it can be attributed to the product or market. The other half of the time, failures are as a result of the team. If these differences can be highlighted early, you might be able to avoid failure." It is the importance of the team that makes Facet5 such a valuable help, as it gives such detailed insights about both individuals and team dynamics.

Many start-up businesses are founded by visionary individuals or groups who do not always know how to work as a cohesive team. A successful team needs balance, with complementary skill sets and backgrounds, and so a thorough understanding of the personalities involved is vital. Michiel attributes a great deal of team success to: "A willingness to invest in each other, and to understand each other’s perspectives." Teams need to be able to work together to overcome challenges and find the optimum solutions, to inspire others and to keep things going even when times get tough. Many start-ups don’t think about how to survive success, how to evolve. Successful businesses must be in it for the long haul, and that’s where it is essential to have the right team in place.

Using Facet5 helps teams to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and to establish a framework of communication that will enable constructive challenge and debate while retaining unity. Understanding the role of personalities within the team is key. As Michiel says, "What is important is awareness of the differences, being able to use these, and being open to feedback."

Typically, all founders working with Startupbootcamp will undergo the Facet5 personality profile questionnaire to get a comprehensive and entirely relevant picture of themselves and their colleagues. Michiel works with them to analyse the results and develop understanding of the team’s dynamic. Michiel says, "We usually focus on differences between team members. Is the team aware of these differences? Are they able to use the differences to the teams benefit, of will it just cause difficulty in the acceleration phase?"

Michiel conducts pre-mediation sessions as part of the process, to discuss and solve issues before they become major problems, because conflict will happen. Working longer term alongside a client such as Startupbootcamp, he will ensure they have their own team certified in using Facet5 to enable them to accurately analyse the results and apply those learning to best effect.

Running a start-up is a stressful business and there are many tensions which can arise, both through adversity and success. People, within a team, will not always agree. Founders benefit from the guidance these sessions provide because they are able to communicate better, and understand their team mates more usefully. Around 50% of start-ups failures are due to team issues, so it’s critical to optimise your chances from the outset.

Facet5 also helps to establish each team member’s natural preferences in terms of role. Personalities are fundamentally different, and not everyone is naturally suited to being a CEO without a little help. For example, someone with low Will but high Control may be a more confident in a Finance Director role, but there is plenty of scope to work around that through the insights offered by Facet5. Facet5 can help with both aligning people with roles they are most naturally suited for, and pre-empting future issues for people in roles that may present more challenges given their own preferences.

If, as Patrick de Zeeuw asserts, 50% of start-up failures are due to issues with the founding team, then Facet5 is an invaluable instrument in predicting success and minimising risk when investing, and for the startup itself in terms of managing change, adversity and success.

Of the 300 or so start-ups that Startupbootcamp has invested in since its launch in 2010, it continues to work intensively with at least a third of them. The companies which tend to perform best are the ones with great teams in place, with strong leaders guiding the business through all weathers. Using Facet5, in conjunction with the expert facilitation and coaching of someone like Michiel, enables the business to minimise risks, giving the management team the confidence and understanding of start-ups to select those most likely to succeed.

All start-ups will undergo ups and downs, and founders will need the right mix of tenacity, drive, innovation and leadership skills to weather both good fortune and bad. Ensuring that the people at the helm are best equipped for success is vital – because behind every successful business there is a successful team, and every team can always be improved. Facet5 is the ultimate knowledge tool to assess the risks and opportunities of the team involved, and the ongoing success of both Startupbootcamp and the businesses it helps is testament to the benefits of unlocking individual and team potential, and to the true power of personality.