Running a startup vs raising a child


I can relate this parenting quote “Parents are teachers, guides, leaders, protectors and providers for their children” to starting and running a Start-up company. “If you are interested in the living heart of what you do, focus on building things rather than talking about them” like how we build and shape the lives of our kids.

Just like strong parental relationships build happy children, building a strong relationship with your team can build strong organisational foundation.

A relationship means you come together to make each other better.

It’s not all about you, and it’s not all about them. It’s all about the relationship.

Support them in their dreams / vision just as much as you would expect them to support you. Make each other better. Challenge each other to go beyond average. Pull out the greatness from within each other.

Make sure they can find their biggest fan in you, and you can find yours in them.

Below listed are the few important parameters both in running a start-up as well as in parenting.

How to build on relationships?

1. Open Communication:

Open communication helps keep things on track and helps both to come to terms with the time to time changes. It can nurture and strengthen a healthy relationship with your team.

2. Listen to each other:

Good Listening is the key to enhance and build relationships. It helps to feel heard, understood and support.

Good listening helps one to understand a totally different perspective of a view point.

It’s important to encourage your partner / team to talk by asking “open ended questions” like “What are your views on solving this particular issue?” If you are thinking about what to say next, then you are not really listening. Instead try to focus your attention on what your partner / team is trying to communicate.

3. Tell how you feel:

No one out here is a Mind Reader! So say it!

Say what you feel can make the situation better to handle. Discuss your joys, frustrations, fears and ideas.

Take out time to talk and discuss things. It can make both you and your partners / teams lives easier.

4. Accept the change:

Both start-ups teams and new parents go through a phase of big change. Accept it! Talk and discuss how to deal and manage this change. Try new approaches.

5. Manage Conflict:

Differences in opinion is bound to occur when two minds are at work. Talk, discuss, brainstorm issues and come up with the most optimum and practical solution. It’s absolutely OK to disagree.

It can help to relieve tension if you accept different points of view while explaining your point. Instead of counter-attacking and making things worse, it’s much better to draw a mid-way solution to the issue.

When some decisions need to be made together, aim for the ones that are OK for all. After all, it teamwork!

6. No Blame Game

When in a team something didn’t work then do not blame any of the team member. It’s the idea that has failed and so has the team.

Now that’s the question I get all the time. It’s not about the blame. It’s about getting our heads out of the sand and accepting that we have more control over the entire situation. Instead of giving in to our anxiety of the moment so we can feel good right now, we need to push our team towards emotional independence because that’s what serves them best in the long run.

Sure, It’s painful. But the good news is that now you have something concrete that you can do – a change of behaviour that can improve your team efforts. It’s about building healthy habits in your team that leads to self-reliance.

Finally, people also learn attitudes by observing the people around them. When someone you admire greatly espouses a particular attitude, you are more likely to develop the same beliefs. For example, children spend a great deal of time observing the attitudes of their parents and usually begin to demonstrate similar outlooks.

7. So much to do

There is always so much to do. The to do list will never get exhausted. “There’s so much more work and no one can ever do enough”, says Pirak.

Tensions over division of labour can lead to dissatisfaction. So one needs to learn effective conflict resolution skills to negotiate their way through everything. Care to taken to not allow disagreements to escalate and affect the course of work.

To conclude, working as a team means negotiating a division of labour that’s acceptable to all the members with the parents taking the appropriate initiative. Sort out roles, expectations and tasks and don’t keep constant score of who does what.