By Peter Rosen on May 4, 2009
Reprinted from http://techdrawl.com
(Editor’s Note: We welcome this first contribution from Peter Rosen of HR Strategies & Solutions, one of our esteemed sponsors. He addresses a good point — with exits now so long delayed, most entrepreneurs have to actually manage human organizations through successive stages of growth, and that’s not easy. The basics he lists below can never be reiterated enough.)
VC’s have been saying that the time from inception until the time of exit has been increasing dramatically over the last number of years. If a start up makes it to a positive exit, it can now take as long as eight years. The implications of this are significant and many of them entail the basic concepts of individual and organizational effectiveness.
This article is designed to be the first of many. Future articles will cover more imperatives, as well as drill down further based on the readers’ interest. So today I will start with 5 must do’s for an early stage company and indicate who is the accountable person(s) for each.
1. Have a powerful Vision. A Vision is a guiding image of an organization’s desired future. Ideally the Vision is the platform on which the founder started the company in the first place. The leader of the company is the person responsible for this. It is a key element in organizational alignment, raising money, assembling a Board and getting the right employees focused on the right things.
2. Have a clear Mission. The Mission gets you to your Vision. It specifies what the company does, who its customers are and what the priorities are going to be in pursuing its work. Usually the Mission is developed by the senior team.
3. Develop a set of core Values. This may seem obvious, but I have found so many younger organizations that think they have a set of values, but the individuals in the workforce either don’t know what they are or more importantly, what they mean to them regarding everyday behavior and decision making. Values describe what is important to an organization; they dictate employee’s behavior and create the organizational culture. They help an organization select, retain and reward the right people. Developing Values is led by the top leader, but should involve a cross section of employees.
4. Communicate, Communicate and Communicate. True communication can start taking a back seat due to the pressures of everyday priorities. Communication has many facets. Leaders and managers must regularly keep employees up to speed on what’s going on. Leaders and managers need to be available to listen to employees to get regular feedback. Employees need to know what’s expected of them and how they are meeting those expectations. Constructive communication involves all stakeholders and must be part of the culture.
5. Be in Compliance with all applicable HR regulations and laws. The world of HR compliance is complicated. Different rules kick in based on the number of employees. Not being in compliance can be costly and embarrassing. The HR function is accountable for this.
Paying attention to these five points can go a long way in helping you reach the dream that you had and enable you to build a solid vibrant company to boot. Companies with strong management teams, engaged employees and solid infrastructure will attract more capital along the way and at the end.