Surviving the start-up blahs
Feb 06 2015
Kinethics faced a limbo phase this past week — full of spontaneous bouts of optimism and an unwavering sense of anticipation. No, we haven’t plunged into the trough of sorrow yet, but this phase is arguably more unnerving.
We’ve juggled a name change and are now refining our first Google Form prototype, establishing a relationship with our first client, building our social media presence and dealing with the uncertainty of when to move forward.
How did we stay sane during this time?
While I’m working on the answer to that question, my team fashioned the element of “play” into our work. Meaning, the insanity was bearable, even exciting, because I am part of a great team.
We started this semester drilling ourselves with the five dysfunctions of a team. One of the most important, trust, is at the core of our Kinethics team. We trust each other with our ideas, with holding ourselves accountable for our actions and with being able to step up when the others cannot.
Trusting ourselves became equally important to trusting each other. The exposure, and in turn the vulnerability, strengthened the conviction we had as a team.
Take the simple act of finding contacts for prototype feedback. When one of us found someone we figured would be even remotely interested in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance training, or even a gamer on LinkedIn, she let the others know. Then she would be responsible for that client relationship.
Each of us has a weakness and a strength. But focusing on our weaknesses only keeps us from falling. It’s our strengths that enable us to rise to the challenge.
Additionally, every week we assign one team member to assume the role “Optimist of the Week.” And it’s worked magic for us, not because that person is obligated to bring food into work — although that is a crucial component of the job — but because that person takes on the hardest responsibility a startup endures, which is honing in on the positive energy. When all our efforts seem futile, the optimist steps in.
Our team has implemented the necessary tools to strengthen our solidarity — whether it’s Optimist of the Week, the element of play or the trust we’ve instilled in each other.
“Work hard, play hard,” is the name of the game for Kinethics.