“The only major personality trait that consistently leads to success is conscientiousness.” via Business Insider
In large companies personality tests and similar instruments are often deployed to provide people with better insight into their own and team performance.
Over the years I have participated in many of these – for example, Myers Briggs, DISC, Belbin Team Roles, Hermann Brain Dominance, 16PF, Big Five Inventory, etc.
Many people debate the efficacy of any or all of these instruments. However, the primary importance of these kind of instruments is the opportunity they provide for people to reflect upon their personal and work preferences. They also provide an opportunity for people to consider how best to participate in teams and to collaborate with others in a work context. These personal reflections and insights are the true value of these personality profile tools in the workplace.
Startups rarely have the luxury of investing time or money into administering these kind of instruments for their teams. This means that personal traits and interpersonal skills are not explicitly considered as part of the setup of a startup.
For co-founders and investors due diligence on the business is typically about the ‘hard’ data – budgets, sales targets, capital – rather than on ‘soft’ skills of the startup team.
Success, focus, and startups
In recent times I have been pondering how to assess the soft skills of startup teams. The one trait that keeps coming up is conscientiousness.
In the long run, brilliance and inventiveness are less important than the ability to focus and persist in the everyday tasks that accrete to make a successful business.
As Thomas Edison said:
“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.
Related research on the Big Five
How Universal Is the Big Five? Testing the Five-Factor
Model of Personality Variation Among Forager–Farmers
in the Bolivian Amazon
A mate reached out to me today asking if I knew any geeks who would be interested in working with him on a startup project. Here are the details he shared:
“I am looking for a super-intelligent web and app all-round coder, hacker and mash-up artist to work on a seriously awesome new venture.
We have developed some outrageously good Intellectual Property and concepts, and the plan is to rapidly prototype for 6-8 weeks before seeking the next round of funding – in order to increase the likelihood and valuation of a VC deal. The concept is a location-aware, social, mobile, commerce play with Augmented Reality, voice recognition, photo recognition and barcode scanning thrown in (of course).
You would be joining Me, as well as George the Hustler (proven entrepreneur) and Amir the Hacker (mad Israeli propellerhead). We don’t expect you to give up your day job initially, although you may have to start quietly sucking at it.. We will pay you $2,000 per sprint of loosely agreed scope, which you’d build in your spare time. After 2 months and 4-6 sprints, we’d be looking at raising capital and offering you a real job and equity.”
Then to clarify I asked what the stack would be for his project and he replied:
“We haven’t decided on a stack, so can’t really tell you, however it is more important that we find someone with sound front-end coding knowledge and the intelligence and breadth to play with any of Java, .net, php, html5, objective c. Does that make sense?”
If any of that is of interest, or it sounds like your bag, then click here and I’ll put you in touch.
Please note that this opportunity is presented on an as-is basis and that you should undertake your own due diligence to ensure that it meets you personal needs.