The startup phenomenon is a recent business model that grew up in a non-traditional atmosphere. It was developed in between of alternative work philosophies, such as brainstorming or team building. Happy hours, casual-Friday-everyday policies, recreational rooms for workers and a relaxed atmosphere are some of the characteristics that many people might identify with the startup ecosystem. Far away we find concepts such as the “alienation of workers” or the tyranny of the employer. These circumstances might still be in used, but it doesn´t seem to be related to the startup world. When people think about startups, they usually think of a group of friends working on their computers and laughing in a colorful office…
However, I personally believe that uncertainty and risk are the factors that actually identify a startup. An almost blind bet on a technological development. A risky idea that has nothing to do with the safety of a conventional business project. Working day by day without having a clear idea about which the final outcome will be... ain´t that exciting…and terrifying?
This fragile nature of the business concerns and affects everyone in the team. And this is transferred to the daily work. You can feel how the energy comes and goes ... how the atmosphere seems to be more cheerful or darker depending on the day… Uncertainty affects emotions and dealing with emotions is always difficult.
As we were a bunch of teenagers, we handle our energy and emotions the best we can. Somedays we are cheerful, some days we are hesitant. We try to do our best, and try not to spread negative or hesitation attitudes, but a team is like a living organism. This means that, when a part of it is affected by an illness, the rest of the body feels it as well. Thus, the emotions play a relevant role in the work development, and even more so if the team is as small as ours.
Energy flows up and down and sometimes you find yourself in an emotional rollercoaster. There are days that you think that this project is going to be a great hit, and the next day you feel it will not succeed... Sometimes you see yourself as an innovative genius, and the next day you question yourself and wonder why you did not listen to your mother and become a civil servant…
Negativity stalks us and, as days go by, you can see how it stops on each one of us. That's where team spirit comes into play to save the project. Teamwork does not only involve good communication, coordination and a good job sharing. Teamwork involves supporting each other, offering advice and help. Knowing how to listen and understanding those with whom you share your day, your project and your life.
Nowadays it is said that investors, when it comes to invest on a startup, they pay attention to the team. The cohesion of the players will be fundamental to determinate if the project successes. This is because they know it will be a complicated path, with ups and downs, many changes and several tensions along the way. Being able to trust the one who rows with you is essential.
When I joined my startup team the first time, I could feel this trust in between each other from the beginning. They might know each other deeper or not. They might be close friends, regular friends or just good coworkers. They might have spent more or less free-time together… I don´t really know… What I know, ´cause I can see it, is that they appreciate each other as humans and professionals. They rely on each other with their eyes closed. They argue and make decisions together because they trust each other. As in the battle field, where uncertainty is the only certain thing, we rely on each other to keep moving forward and succeed.