Have Healthy Skepticism
We all need a balance of personalities on a team and more about that in next week’s twentieth and final blog in our Taking the Scary Out of Startup series.
Healthy skepticism is not saying no to everything and everyone. You should be comfortable with saying no, particularly when there are ideas that would take you way off the roadmap and burn into your runway. But negativity does not belong at a startup; actually it does not belong anywhere, business or home, but that is a separate topic.
Externally, it is helpful to have a higher level of skepticism than with your team. When you are working on product development and interacting with potential customers, external beta testers, or just networking out in the community, you should be asking lots of questions when you receive any type of feedback. Remember that the outside world is not privy to your roadmap and plans, and don't always want you to succeed. Take feedback with a grain of salt but never disregard it completely.
As our CFO says, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day." This saying applies to your team. Presumably your team can be trusted so you can relax a bit and not worry about motives; but you want to have a culture where it’s okay to question just about everything. Set up a framework where questions are welcomed and do not shut people down. If you allow these questions to flow freely and then you also pose your own questions to people, your curiosity should not be seen as an overlord move.
Some of best ideas come from tangents and healthy questions. The trick is to make sure that it does not spiral into a huge diversion. And it’s not just the Founders or the CEO that can pull the group back to the task at hand. Empower everyone to question and rope the group back in. The results can be amazing!
P.S. Remember, if you are the Founder, you may have had the original great idea but without a team and their probing questions, that is that is where it may end.
Check back next week for part 20, the last blog of this series. Subscribe to our blog for these updates straight to your Inbox!