Form A Winning Team

Research shows that roughly half of organizations fail due to cofounders not seeing eye to eye. While there are many causes for conflict, the one that is most evident is the lack of alignment on values, purpose, and expectations between cofounders. Since the organization’s culture is a reflection of its founders, it is crucial to do your homework and find out what truly matters to you and the partners in your venture.



I. Do You Really Want A Cofounder?

Is having a cofounder the right thing for you and your venture? Before you try and find the right one, you might want to spend some time figuring out if you want one. 


II. Look for Co-Founders You Can Spar With Productively

Choosing a founding team is a process of difficult decisions that will significantly impact your venture's long-term success. Since the organization's culture is a reflection of its founders, it is crucial to do your homework and find out what truly matters to you and the prospective partners in your venture. Cofounders should share an equal passion for the venture, have similar values, and agree on a strategy to manage the venture's launch and growth.


III. Challenges to Expect

As your venture grows and changes, you will need to define goals and strategy, agree on values, and clarify your vision. Common conflicts stem from questions of "who gets what," and "who gets to decide," as well as from opinions regarding "who works the hardest, "who are the biggest team assets," and "what success looks like." In order to proactively minimize these arguments, transparency is key. These points should be discussed at length and agreed upon before situations demand their answers.


IV. Mediating Tension

Tensions arise whenventure founders face situations that amplify their contrasting values, or in circumstances when founders cannot act as dynamically as the changes in their ventures. Remedying these situations takes patience, understanding, and excellent communication and are more likely to be resolved when approached using defined tactics and methods.






Expanding Your Team


  • Board Members: find a few good board members to start.

Consider candidates who have experience successfully serving on a comparable organization's board, but who have adequate availability to devote to the time intensive start up phase. Get the scoop from experts on how to structure your board for success and avoid common challenges.

  • Mentors: who can you turn to for advice?

Consider faculty members, leaders of organizations you admire, or even classmates who have relevant experience. Look for someone who shares your values and enthusiasm for the start-up. If your mentor isn't excited about the work you are doing, it is not likely that they will put in the time and engergy so crucial to your success. 

  • Staff: building a team to support your vision.

As your venture grows it is crucial to bring on talented people that share the same vision and passion in your business as you do. Review these interview questions to help you hire the best people to help grow your social venture.



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