Analyzing the risks and benefits of building a homogeneous team within my company was something that I have actually given a lot of thought over the few years that I have had my business.
A homogeneous team is a group of people or team who come from the same background. this team might have worked together at the same company or gone to the same college with the same major.
In reading The Founders Dilemmas by Naom Wasserman, I was able to learn and study more about how I would like to build my team when it comes time for me to hire a team. Some of the benefits of a homogeneous team are:
- The people that you chose to hire a share a common language with you that will help to encourage communication within the team.
- Everyone on your team will have a higher level of confidence that you will be able to develop a deep level of trust that is necessary to become an effective founding team.
- You will already understand each other and you are able to skip over the learning curve that would absorb the energies of the people who have a much more diverse background because they would feel different or like the odd man out.
On the other side of the coin, you have the risks of a homogeneous team which are:
- Your team will tend to have overlapping human capital because you all have similar backgrounds. This can make is hard because you will all have the similar strengths and you could be missing out on very crucial skills needed for your startup.
- Since your team knows each other and you worked together, you may experience a greater chance for conflict when there is a clear division of labor. It may be hard for you to draw a line with a friend and not have anyone take is personally.
- Your team will lack diversity and so there is no one to bring an outsiders perspective because they all have the same or similar experiences or thought processes. This, in turn, could affect the strategic creativity of the group and could drag you down and cause you to lose your competitive edge.
- When you have a homogeneous team, you lack diversity in your network which could cause you to miss out on potential investors and corporate partners. Diverse teams are often times more creative and innovative and are able to tap into a wider range of potential employees as well as investors and partners.
I have given a lot of thought to how I will build my team when it comes to bringing more people on. There are not a lot of people that I know that are from the same major or background as I am except for my husband. I would want to have a much more diverse team of individuals because I believe that it would help to build a stronger team in the long run.
I do not think that I would select people from my personal circle to help with my startup for a multitude of reasons. I would not want to put any of my friendships or relationships at risk if things do not work out and someone walks away from the company. I would also love to see what everyone would bring to the table in means of experiences and networking. Also, being able to have a break from work is very important and I do not think you are able to do that when you employ friends or family or coworkers. You might not be able to disengage when you are done for the day.
On the other hand, when looking at the role of founders, if I work with someone who I think would be an A-Player for my company then I am going to try and hire them. I would want to hire someone that I think would be a great asset to my company, regardless if they are a personal friend of mine or not. It is my role as a founder to build the best team that I can and find as many A-Players to help build my time. Some of the roles of founders are:
- Stop being a control freak and let your A-Players build your business for you. You hired these workers so you could have time off and be able to enjoy life, trust the team you have built.
- Stop trying to turn some of your C-Players into A-Players. If they wanted to be A-Players, they would be doing it. Instead, focus on finding A-Players to bring to your team.
- It is time to stop thinking of yourself as a boss and think of yourself as a coach. Help show your A-Players that you want to help them achieve and do what you can to help them.
- Recruiting is everyone’s job within the company, the weight does not stand squarely on HR’s shoulders. You should be encouraging everyone to seek out A-Players and send them to the company for an interview. Everyone should be a part of the recruiting process, it helps to make everyone feel like they are contributing and are a part of the team. You can even offer an incentive or reward program.
- Do not hire people just to fill empty positions. You are never going to get your team to where you want it to be if that is your mentality. You should be making every hire a piece of the puzzle that will build your great team.
- If you are viewing recruiting as a job, you need to stop. You should view recruiting as a way to gain a competitive advantage. Build time into your schedule every week for recruiting so it become a habit and you will notice a difference.
- The team that you start out with in the beginning might not be the team that you need to succeed. Start working to find your best team as soon as you can. Once you start building that team, you will notice that things will start happening in your business.
I enjoyed learning about all of these different roles and the benefits and risks when it comes to building a team. When my business is ready for me to bring more people on, I plan to find A-Players for the core jobs I am looking for. If those people happen to be people who are close to me, at least I know I am getting someone who is right for the role.
As an example, my friend Erica is amazing at networking and sales. She can make friends anywhere she goes and she knows so many people because she is a very friendly and outgoing person. I have told her that if she decides she does not what to study pharmacology anymore, I would hire her as my networking and sales director. She is driven and also friendly and has a great work ethic and goes above and beyond the call of duty. While she is a close friend and colleague, she is a someone I view as an A-Player and someone who could really take my company to the next level.
I learned some interesting things while reading this section and I enjoyed it. I hope that you learned something in reading my post. Leave me a comment below telling me your thoughts on homogeneous teams, are they smart or dangerous?
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Until next time,