Startups: Meetings and Personalities
For many startups, work is like a never ending buffet. There’s just so much to be done (work as much as you can!). And a great deal of it is done autonomously, since hierarchy it’s pretty flat or non existent. So people just go for it. But there are quite a few instances where you need input especially when it’s new and important. Here is where meetings and different personalities come into play.
Meetings and Personalities: This mixture is the lifeblood of a startup. It’s how ideas, products and features are shaped, jettison, re-imagined or brought to life. To provide an example of how this works, lets consider how my startup Prognostore* approached the Permission Matrix feature we implemented for small business owners.
Some background on Permission Matrix; it simply defines a user’s permission access in PrognoStore. Good user permission is generally lacking in small business software. This is especially true when compared to solutions available to enterprise, as it’s clear that thoughtful consideration has not being given to the needs of a small business. We decided to tackle this area properly by providing the right permissions, which maintains security and confidentiality yet provides appropriate access for various types of users. We had several meetings to explore our approach and below are the 4 distinct types of personalities:
1. The cheerleader
The cheerleader echoes other people’s views, acts as a good sounding board and generally keeps the tempo of the meeting up while ensuring everyone’s participation. Every meeting needs a cheerleader(s) to make the most of the time.
Cons: If not a ‘doer’ as well, poses a credibility risk i.e an individual can’t only parrot others ideas and opinions every-time.
2. The thinker
The thinker is generally quiet. Not necessarily an introvert but prefers to allow other voices dominate and will likely not contribute if unsure of viewpoint. However when the thinker speaks, everyone listens as it’s usually packed with deep insights befitting of the title.
Cons: There’s tendency to lose out on good input if not prodded.
3. The Expert
The expert speaks by virtue of expertise or experience in an area. She’s the Subject Matter Expert (SME) who’s presence means it’s not the ‘blind leading the blind’. In any good meeting, this is rightly the most influential voice.
Cons: If the expert leads the meeting astray, you need an act of divine intervention to be rescued.
4. The influencer
The influencer is usually conviction driven. The influencer is not necessarily an ‘expert’, if not SME. However she can sway the outcome of a meeting, as her point of view is well respected by her peers. This can especially be a force for good (use wisely & with caution), when there’s a deadlock on approaches or in proceedings.
Cons: Mustn’t go rogue i.e political animals not welcomed. Nothing drives talent from a startup more than a political environment, where meritocracy dies a painful death.
Yes, I know there are other personality types…so which obvious personality type do you think is missing?
*PrognoStore is the 3-in-1 cloud based software to run small business. It’s Point-of-Sale, Inventory and Analytics combined software, aimed to be all a small business needs to manage their day-to-day activities.
P.S We created PrognoStore in April of 2014 and opening to the public in November of 2015. We are currently in limited beta and you can join here to be notified when available.