“Lead, follow, or get out of the way” – Thomas Paine

October 28, 2014

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs


October 15th, 2014


For anyone who’s been a part of a team knows that team dynamics are essential to any kind of success. Managing team dynamics is one of the biggest hurdles for both participants and mentors. There are many different types of personalities, with different backgrounds, and different levels of experience being thrown together as a team and expected to perform, and mentors, help their teams come together and find their groove. Not always easy.

At each session the mentors take a 20 minute break from their teams to go out and pow wow together where they can discuss challenges, ask for advice, and exchange ideas.  Now, in week 5 we’ve seen some similar bumps in the road with our teams.  Some of the common hiccups are strong, overpowering personalities on teams, different individual levels of commitment, and teams wanting to be experts on their technology; instead of the building their business plans. The mentors threw out some great strategies to counter all these issues:

  • Learn participant’s communication styles. If you can help your team navigate different personalities and communication everything else should fall into place.
  • Redirecting focus- If a team member is frustrated by another’s lack of participation, remind them what they gain from the program, new skills, earned continuing education credits, top three teams win cash prizes.
  • Come up with the assumptions and stick to them. Once the team has that set, there’s no need to go back and get stuck on details.
  • Have team members hold each other accountable, encourage them to speak up and motivate one another.
  • Failure is an option. You can lead them in the right direction, but it’s up to them to power through and do the work. Failure is also a lesson.

Startup Quest is also a learning experience for the mentors. By leading the teams they sharpen their management and leadership styles. This is a unique opportunity that allows them to give back to the community while also continuing to grow and better themselves.

Mentor pow wows aren’t only focused on the problems, they share the good things about their teams. Who’s standing out as a great team leader, great skills participants bring to the team, ideas they’ve tried, the status of the business plans, and the enthusiasm of their teams.

The mentors care about their teams and not just their success, but if their participants are actually learning something that can help them in the future. We cannot thank them enough for taking time out of their own busy lives to help us with Startup Quest. They are the glue that holds it all together.

Speaking of great leadership, our guest speaker this week was Cliff McIntosh, Founder and President of Catalyst Global Consulting. Cliff delivered an exceptional presentation on finance and how key financials are to any business.  He also included his 25+ years of experience with raising funds, product launch execution, sales, brand development and more. His presentation really supported and emphasized the importance of this week’s curriculum on financial requirement of product launch. Some of the key takeaway points from his talk were:

  • “Cash is King”
  • Capital Efficient Profitable Growth; inventory turnover, DSO in A/R, and cash flow
  • Burn Rate; contingency plans, risk management, wind down cost

If any participants are interested in connecting with Cliff via Linked In, the link is below.  However, do not send a standard default invitation, please specify that you are part of the Startup Quest program so he knows why you’re connecting.



We’re halfway there, see you next week.