We're coming in the last few days of the selection process for this season of Startupbootcamp HightechXL. But we can already see that access to brilliant mentors are one of the main reasons for a high-tech startup team to choose a particular accelerator program. Only a few focus as we do on hardware high-tech, but as the Internet of Things morphs quietly into the Internet of Everything (at least CISCO would like us to believe that), it looks like this a just the right moment to add the hardware side. And just as the teams pick and choose their accelerator, so we pick and choose team. As Richard Branson wrote recently,
There is nothing more important for a business than hiring the right team. If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success. However, the best person for the job doesn’t always walk right through your door.
The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner. That doesn't mean you can’t take risks when building your team. Don’t be afraid of hiring mavericks. Somebody who thinks a little differently can help to see problems as opportunities and inspire creative energy within a group. Some of the best people we’ve ever hired didn’t seem to fit in at first, but proved to be indispensable over time.
Guus Frericks is the manager of Startupbootcamp HightechXL. He believes we can go further that just that gut feeling.
"As entrepreneurs, we know that team dynamics are the key differentiator for successful start-ups. So during our Final Selection days on October 14 and 15th we've partnered with InContext to do some rather sophisticated personality assessment of the finalist teams. So rather than just relying on the intuitive approach that Branson refers to, we're also using technology to explore strengths and weaknesses. That helps our selection teams ask some explorative questions. And all the teams, whether they get in or not, will get access to their respective team reports. These are a great way of understanding the team dynamics and what motivates (and really annoys) others. Some of the missing talent you can hire in when needed. But there are also things that founders should never delegate to others until they have validated their business model canvas"
We have also been talking to other mentors in other programs, making this compilation of views on why mentors matter. Enjoy.