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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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