Control and what we do with it is essential to maintaining good startup culture — whether it’s trust, respect and autonomy to perform daily work well, or letting go of the company’s reins in order to let staff explore and flourish.
“Everyone wants control in their lives. I don’t think anyone grew up wanting to be an executive assistant,” explained Vancouver-based entrepreneur Jonathan Bixby of Stanley Park Ventures at Tech Vancouver.
Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Founders know this, and having the freedom to create something new and exciting is what drove most of them to create a startup in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s an easy lesson for founders to forget once they’ve laid it all on the line.
Giving staff members more freedom over the work they do, as well as where and how they do it, can pay off in spades in productivity, growth and innovation.
As Bixby says, taking the time to uncover what employees care about when they’re on and off the clock helps founders establish relationships of mutual understanding and respect: “Get a Google spreadsheet, write down all your employee’s names and find out something cool about them that they are passionate about.”
And to most employees, respect is more valuable than foosball tables, a stocked beer fridge and pizza on Fridays, says former Netflix chief talent officer Patty McCord. “All those perks might make people happy, but they don’t make people happy in the same way that being on a great team and doing great work does.”