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3 ways to stop organizing your startup to death

a woman having trouble organizing learns 3 ways to stop organizing your startup to death

“Order, order!” might work for a judge in a courtroom. But, in a startup workspace, it’s the opposite scenario that will see your business thrive.

We studied founders over two decades and found that a less structured approach than Judge Judy might approve of is critical for entrepreneurial success. Here’s why.

Why knowing how much structure you prefer is key.

Structure refers to your level of energy and priority on planning the resources and parts of a project or task. Does that mean that accountants, developers and engineers don’t stand a chance of succeeding in starting a business?

Not quite.

While founders are often criticized by corporate leaders (and sometimes boards) for their low focus on details, procedures and planning, it's this very low priority that correlates with venture success. In fact, a too high or too low focus on structure is found within those who experienced business failure.

In an early startup, too high a focus on structure might find you in danger of stalling. At this stage, it’s important to pare back the focus on planning - just not right to back to zero. Founders do need a small degree of structure, but can become unstuck if all planning, no action becomes the cultural norm.

Structure becomes much, much more important as a business scales. Being able to effectively manage resources and teams and plan efficiently is critical when leading a large organization.

But, what if you use an Asana checklist for household chores, create a Gantt chart to project manage a mate’s surprise birthday party or use Jira to run the family’s schedule?

Here are three simple tricks that might just help dial down your urge to organize the bejesus out of your business:

1. Park the habit of planning and invest instead in on-the-spot problem-solving.

Remember the good old skill requested by many job ads: “Ability to think on your feet”?

Well, as an entrepreneur, this skill is gold! Remember, successful entrepreneurs are able to adapt and change, and often thrive in uncertainty - there’s not much room for structure in this end of town! Try to let this become an acceptable state of mind. Think like an entrepreneur - plan less and use the moment to organize solutions as the needs arise.

2. Embed a culture of curiosity in your business.

In a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine, Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder says, “To successfully grow a business, you must ‘expect chaos’.” In an early-stage startup, it’s almost impossible to avoid. Normalize this by questioning everything, from processes to products to people.

Give your founding team your blessing to wear multiple hats, work across the business, patch problems as they arise and foster a culture of problem-solving on the fly. Be fluid in your approach.

Chances are your founding team will appreciate the potential this offers. As F4S CTO Joe Tyson says:

“Stop with the fake work, start with the real work.”

3. Need help ‘winging it’?

Why not learn first-hand from those who do it so well? Look for a mentor, a co-founder or set of team members that strike the right balance of planning with a whole mother load of rolling up their sleeves and figuring it out on the fly.

Wondering just how high - or low - your subconscious focus on structure really is? You might be surprised!

Join the F4S community to instantly discover just how your preference for a little "order, order!" stacks up.

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Inspire yourself and others to see the bigger picture! Increase your comfort and use of abstract and strategic thinking to gain a broader perspective in work and life. Big picture thinking is key in communication, leadership, businesses, selling, marketing, and situations where you need to get the gist of things quickly.

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Explore, develop or strengthen your emotional intelligence (EQ). Awareness of your and others’ emotions is at the heart of influencing, ‘reading people’, impactful communication, deep relating and authentic connection at work and in life.

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Multiply your impact by embracing the experience and genius within others. During this eight week program Coach Marlee will help you to develop a genuine appreciation for experimentation and data and a willingness to empower the opinions, feedback and insights within your team and others in your life.

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Personal Power

In this high impact eight week program Coach Marlee will help you increase your comfort and confidence to be in positions of influence and leadership, navigate organizational politics and also help you develop greater confidence to compete and influence at the top of your industry or field.

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Develop ‘step back’ mastery for increased self-awareness and developing mindsets and tools for constant improvement. Reflection and patience is core to consolidating learning, development, strategic thinking, recharging and living an authentic and meaningful life.

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Start Fast

Close the gap between your great ideas and starting them. Energy and drive for starting is key for inventing new things, starting businesses, selling, marketing, socializing or in situations where you need to think on your feet.

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Trust Your Gut Feel

Explore, strengthen and stand by what you believe in at work and in life. Trust in your ‘gut feel’ and point of view is especially helpful for influencing, starting your own business, having your personal needs met and for living an authentic and meaningful life.

5 - 15 minutes
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Vital Wellbeing

In this high impact nine week program Coach Marlee will help you to increase your energy, vitality and general wellbeing while also helping you to break through self sabotage and develop life long skills for emotional resilience and self-esteem. Enjoy weekly cutting edge science backed wellbeing resources from both Marlee and our wellbeing partner Blisspot.

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Testimonials

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“Quite amazing how many things get done when they are initiated!”

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“I learned to be organised and to have clarity of my target”

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“Personal power program was great for me to gain confidence and knowledge on approaching my new leadership role”

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“This coaching program has really helped me to see the value in goals, and get much better at setting them. It’s had a really positive impact on my career!”

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“Awesome and effective coaching program of helping to increase motivation for goal challenged people. Fallen in love with goals and looking forward to more BHAGs. Highly recommend the coaching for GoalCatcher!”

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"The resources are awesome, I have referred back to them multiple times"

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“I have always found it hard to ‘slow’ down but this helped me to see how I can slow down to speed up”

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