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UCI BPC Workshop ”Successful Teams in Start-up Enterprises ” John Creelman (UCI BA ‘79, MBA ‘89) January 15, 2013. Contents. My background. Attributes of successful teams in start-up enterprises. Practical application to BPC. Q&A. My background. “Mature” Companies

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UCI BPC Workshop ”Successful Teams in Start-up Enterprises ”John Creelman (UCI BA ‘79, MBA ‘89)January 15, 2013

contents
Contents
  • My background.
  • Attributes of successful teams in start-up enterprises.
  • Practical application to BPC.
  • Q&A
my background
My background

“Mature” Companies

  • Western Digital Corporation (5 years):
    • Corporate, treasury and operations finance – Public Company
  • MTIC (2 years):
    • Corporate, treasury and operations finance - Private Company.
    • IPO in 1994

Emerging Growth Companies

  • CFO for 7 Venture backed start-ups (19 years):
    • Who: Elemental SW, Copper Mountain Networks, VSK Photonics, Active Network, ID Analytics, PowerGenix Systems, RainTree Oncology.
    • What: Web development SW, professional services, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors/photonics, SAAS, energy storage, health care services.
    • The environment: constant change, under-resourced, dynamic and hyper competitive markets, new business models, constantly fund raising.
attributes of successful teams
Attributes of Successful Teams
  • The team has a designated leader.
  • The team has a credible blend of skills to succeed.
  • The leader has a process for constructive internal debate and for decisive decision making.
  • The team adapts and changes over time.
key attribute 1
Key Attribute #1
  • The team has a designated leader.
    • Being the CEO / leader is the hardest job.
    • Democracy works well in politics but not in start-ups. While you need internal debate, ultimately someone has to be tasked with making the hard decisions.
    • Success will be tough if team does not have one designated leader.
    • Part of leadership is clarifying roles (and ownership):
      • Agree upon roles and essential competencies.
      • In most cases, agreeing what you won’t do is also important. Focus, focus, focus…….
      • Structure the ownership / equity / compensation.
key attribute 2
Key Attribute #2
  • The team has a credible blend of skills to succeed.
    • Investors fund 2 things: “the idea” and “the right team”.
    • The composition of “right team” changes over time.
    • Titles matter. Extreme example: don’t have a CEO and a President and a COO.
    • Some skills can be provided by advisors and Board members.
    • Don’t apologize for what your organization lacks, acknowledge gaps and have a plan to address them.
key attribute 3
Key Attribute #3
  • The leader is skilled at fostering internal debate and driving to resolution:
    • Core values here are critical:
      • Intellectual honesty.
      • Respect.
      • Listening.
      • Humility.
    • When the debate is over, if there is not pure consensus the leader makes the tough decision and creates consensus.
key attribute 4
Key Attribute #4
  • The team adapts and changes over time.
    • Adaptation means changes in roles, organization structure, process, systems and tools.
    • Adaptation is a dynamic process it starts on “day one”.
    • The faster the pace, and the greater the challenges the more essential adaptation is.
    • Supplement internal team with advisors, technical advisors and Board of Directors.
    • The team also modifies and tailors its message to fit the environment and constituents.
practical application to bpc
Practical Application to BPC
  • Teams with a clear leader will be viewed as being more grounded and decisive.
  • Initially, focus on the essential skills of the core team:
    • Supplement with advisors and BOD members
    • Acknowledge which skills you lack and communicate the plan to remedy the gaps
  • Develop a culture which fosters healthy debate:
    • Ask yourselves questions that outside investors would ask.
    • Talk about the tough decisions with investors
  • The team should always have a sense of the adaptations and challenges that it faces (“what keeps you up at night?”)
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