Why the Dream Team Doesn’t Need Two Iron Men
During the pandemic, I watched all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so when I speak to startups, I use the example of the Avengers when they think about teams. The Hulk has the muscle; Captain America has the charisma; Black Widow has the wits; and Iron Man has all the money. In the end (no spoilers), the combination works.
When you think of amazing teams — sports, superhero, or otherwise — you notice that they have a unique combination of skills.
Key word is combination. Teams are the puzzles of all its parts, and the startup’s success is derived from the talent of its people.
Founders are the lifeblood of their business, and people, yes, real people, create the products and services thousands fall in love with each day. (And these smiling, probably tired faces are the driving force behind most early stage investments.) This is why having a strong team is fundamental.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
- Henry Ford
Great startup teams are collectives of individuals whose skills and weaknesses compliment one another to move the business forward. Each member, in theory, does not have the same “superpower” as another.
If you have two Iron Men in the same team, that is one too many. (Plus that is waaay too much ego for one team!) So, if there are two people from the same background, with same skills, and same professional experience, I would argue that you may want to think if that is also the case.
A successful, lean team should have variety of professional, academic, and personal skillsets. You need diversity in thought, industry expertise, and professional experience to move the mission of your business forward. To dive into this further, let’s look at the graphic below.
These are just a few example domains needed in a tech-for-good startup team. Organization, technology acumen, industry expertise, etc. should be be blended together to push the mission of the business forward.
But, this graphic is not bible. It does not mean you need a teammate for each section of the pie.
Like in the chart, you may have individuals whose experience covers more than just one section. Maybe your CTO is a trained accountant and went to coding school at nights. She would have skills that overlap two sections. Or, just as critically, there may be sections of that are easier to outsource, like legals or graphic design.
Even if you are a solopreneur, chances are you will bring in contractors, VAs, and freelancers in the future.
So look at yourself, investigate the skills you have, and harness your own “superpower” before onboarding anyone else in your team. Knowing yourself will give you the ability to build out your own Startup Avengers. And, this will prevent you from the headache of group think or one too many green monster men on your startup team.
If you want to learn more, listen to Episode 3 of Start Up Authentically Podcast to hear more about teams.