In the continuing series on Nurture Capital Conversations, Venkat S. Raju, Venture Partner shared several insights on ‘Building Teams’ with the YourNest team during a visit to Gurgaon on July 26, 2022.
Based on his own experience across various large global corporations and startups in different sectors and geographies, Venkat shared his top three perspectives on the significance of Selection. While his points came from the decision-making framework he uses before joining a team or an organisation, he believes that, as a manager, one must also seek answers around these three points before selecting someone for your team.
The three questions were posed from the perspective of a candidate or job seeker:
- Is the role bringing alignment between your personal goals and the company goals?
- Is there a culture fitment? Do you feel you belong here? Do you connect to the core DNA of the company?
- Can you make a difference here? Is this a platform that will allow you to do what you want to do?
Venkat then flipped the questions from the point of view of a manager building a team:
- What are the aspirations of the candidate, and can this role and the organisation help this person in achieving her/his goals?
- Do you see this person as a strong culture fit? Can the person amplify the culture of the company?
- What difference can the person make here? Would the organisation allow the person to do what he/she wants to do?
With a free-flowing discussion and active participation stimulated by these questions, Venkat then spoke about Investing in Relationships. What he shared holds true for building teams, but this is something that cuts across any role that you manage on the Planet where you have to interact with people. The three attributes which he has found to have the most impact on any relationship are:
- Trust: It all starts with trust… “When two people or a group of people are comfortable sharing bad news with the same comfort with which they can share good news, there is a strong presence of Trust.”
- Empathy: You need to understand and share the feelings of another.
- Value: Be your team’s biggest well-wisher, create value for them, be with them during the tough times and the good.
In the third part of the conversation, Vekant spoke about the Five Values which he believes are imperative for the success of a team. Here, his focus was on the individuals within a team on what five things which if they demonstrate, will help the team succeed and, in turn, will also help individuals succeed.
- Ownership: What it means is “no excuses”. This is your role, your responsibility and you are 100% in charge.
- Open and direct conversation: Be blunt, do not sugar coat, say what you mean to a person’s face. Do not confuse this to be disagreeable always.
- Striving for excellence: Whatever you do, your quality should speak for itself.
- Customer centricity: Think through in the roles you are managing and keep seeking answers to who are you serving, and what incremental value you can bring every time.
- Teamwork: What is the point in being a superstar individual when you cannot win together?
He also shared his top three tips for first-time managers to learn and act upon when they grow into these roles:
- Learn to delegate.
- Have the willingness to let go; do not micromanage.
- Hire people better than yourself.
A few other gems shared by Venkat during the session:
“When you join a growing organisation or startup, you may often feel your role or responsibility is not well defined. But, remember this: what you make of the role is up to you. It is your responsibility to change the role.”
“You can have the greatest strategy of the greatest of things, but that doesn’t translate into a successful company… this is where culture comes into play.”
“Why did I choose you and us? Now we all know that VCs have some sort of a reputation and well deservedly so. It is like a cutthroat environment where people are very aggressive. When we talked about YourNest, we talked about family values we talked about the team being together. This is a place where I found people walk the talk.”