This title reminds me of a show I used to watch (as a kid) called the “Wonder Years”. Real cheesy stuff, but I was addicted in middle-school, along with Doogie Howser and Small Wonder *yeech*. Back to our main program.
A new business or start-up (as they say in the Technology Sector) has quite a few stages before it actually fits into the conventional definition of a business. The gestation stage comes first when all the basic requirements to run the business are put in place. This includes your people, equipment, vendor and banking relationships and lots of other infrastructural stuff. This is generally followed by the business building phase, were you try to build your brand/presence and get your cashflow in the positive.
In my limited experience of running a business, I have found that the second phase is more of a trial than the first and this is especially true with respect people. When we first stared recruitment we went through multiple rounds of selection and hand-picked what we planned would be our core team. About 75% of our choices were great and really delivered during the gestation period, they were excited to be part of a dynamic team and motivated by the vision. This good feeling didn’t last long.
Once we hit stage two, the pressures of being part of a start-up started manifesting. People saw the team growing, their responsibilities increasing and their access to the founders reducing. We grew 6 times in size in a year (our footprint not our inflow, we were still making a loss) and this was reflected in all areas. The supposed core team split into two camps. The ones who took ownership of their areas, expressed a desire for more face time with a willingness to wait while things settled down and motivated their teams. The second set where the ones who saw their importance dwindling without everyday guidance, voiced their opinion in a public forum (however not to the relevant people) that this was not their idea of a start-up and smiled hesitantly while searching for new jobs. Today our core team is half of the original recruits along with a few new recruits (who have worked with us in different capacities before we got into this business). It seems like these people will be the ones to reap the rewards, if and when they come, just because they understood the importance of their role without being told and had the strength to stick it out.
Looking back I feel the same applies to children. Everyone always told me that children make a marriage stronger, however, I beg to differ. When we had our daughter, the pregnancy was the best period. We were excited, hopeful and full of plans. In contrast, the first one year was hell. We were struggling to master this skill called parenting (we still haven’t), had absolutely no couple time and lived in different cities. Throw two sets of competing grandparents and various well-meaning family members into the mix and most of the time we were so miserable, I am sure given a chance we would have run away. Now that the first few years are behind us I can say that the experience has made us much stronger as a couple and also helped us handle the occasional stress of working together in a mature fashion. Here’s what I mean to say, having a child doesn’t make a marriage stronger, getting through it does.
Are the baby years really this tough for everyone?
Have you dealt with employees/ team members who are unable to motivate themselves? If yes, how do you deal with them?
P.S. We love our daughter to bits, just in case you had any doubts on that. We just didn’t like ourselves much in the first year.