For better or for worse
This is was my first thought when Wasserman turned a leering eye on Homogenous teams. Homogenous teams are comprised of people who are similar with similar thoughts, experience, and education. I am personally looking to build my potential business with my Husband and include relatives and close friends. The author gave an example that was disheartening in the case of Evan Williams. Evan being the founder of a couple of businesses that employed his family, friends, and girlfriend. He was met with multiple challenges that ultimately his business could not withstand. Although I did not like what I was hearing, the problems he faced such as not be able to discuss tough issues and conflicting roles were actually some of my own personal fears that I had prior to reading The Founder’s Dilemmas. However, I breathed a sigh of relief when I found that there were short-term benefits of homogeneity. One of those being speed. When you are working with people that are familiar to you, you are able to hit the ground running. For example I feel I know my husband very well, I am able to most times guess his next move, we communicate well, and there is already trust there that does not have to be built, opposed to if I was working with an acquaintance or stranger. In the long term these same benefits can lead to risk. When I look at those that I would select for my potential business we all have worked in the same profession and carry many of the same strengths and weaknesses this will leave holes that only “outside” help can fill.
It is important for founders to build teams with top notch performers and these superior employees are not always friends and family. Eric Herrenkohl refers to these workers as A-Players in his book How to Hire A-Players. Herrenkohl encourages founders to get excited about finding immense talent. Entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike know that many hours are put into running a business but instead of trying to play every role in the company which after awhile can become problematic and unhealthy you need to find value in your team. Good employees want to work with other good employees. If you devote time and resources into finding “A players” other “A players” will follow. It is also important to know that sometimes you can NOT turn lemons into lemonade. I have seen many times in my professional career were an employee was under performing and management took many strides to coach and develop the employee hoping to turn them into a very high performing worker. As a founder you must recognize that the majority of the time the “A players” are not made but rather already possess the traits that make them “A players.” As a founder, in order to build a successful team you have to be willing to let go of the reins of your “baby” and the only way to fully do this is to leave your business in capable hands. In the hands of “A players”.