7 factors that distinguish successful startup founders according to Google

American tech giant Google is known for its affinity for data, not only when it comes to product design, but also in the overall way the company does business.

The company has conducted a lot of internal research on what makes a manager or team successful, as well as what is the secret behind a successful job interview.

Now Google for Startups, the giant’s division dedicated to supporting high-growth startups, has turned its attention to startup founders. Given that more than half of startups fail because of interpersonal issues, Google wants to know what good startup leaders do.

To find out, the company’s researchers spoke with more than 900 startup leaders in more than 40 countries. The results of these efforts are summarized in a Google for Startups Project Effective Founders Project report. The detailed paper is worth reading in its entirety, but the most important takeaway from it is that all successful startup founders share seven key traits:

They treat people as volunteers

If you want to attract and retain top talent, you need to offer them a great mission, not just compensation or bonuses, the report says. “Whether it’s fresh-out-of-university candidates or seasoned world-class talent, the best people want their work to be part of a meaningful and challenging mission,” Google’s blog states.

They keep the team from getting distracted

Is it easy to abstract yourself from all the distractions in a fast-paced startup world? No, it’s not easy at all. But Google insists that startup founders want to be effective leaders, and that’s a skill they need to acquire. “Although CEOs are often seen as people who can easily get distracted by some new interesting idea and fall behind their previous goals. But the best of them focus on the things that matter,” says Google.

“Set clear goals and priorities to build momentum for your team’s progress. This fosters better performance and team spirit,” advises the tech giant.

They minimize unnecessary micromanagement

It’s no surprise to anyone that micromanaging isn’t a good management approach in most situations, but a new Google study sheds new light on why. “Our data shows that micromanagement is one of the main factors that can derail things, especially for CEOs. Identify which team members need supervision and guidance, and which can only make good decisions and act independently,” commented Google.

They encourage dissent

On this point, Google’s conclusion matches that of many highly successful startup founders. “Our data shows that founders consistently underestimate the benefit of encouraging the sharing of opinions different from their own, while everyone else values ​​it as an important quality,” Google notes, adding that “disagreement between different teams leads to more good results”.

They maintain interpersonal equality

Successful relationships with co-founders are like successful marriages – those built on open and clear communication. For this reason, it is important to remember to discuss your expectations with your partners and employees and stick to the agreed terms.

“Distorted expectations are the main source of conflict between co-founders,” warns Google. “Our data suggest that many startup founders closely monitor the actions of others, but set lower expectations for themselves. Make sure everyone’s responsibilities and rewards are well balanced,” the tech company advises.

They develop their technical skills

Social skills are critical to the success of startup founders, but you shouldn’t think that technical skills aren’t important. According to Google, they play a significant role. “93% of the most effective startup founders have the technical expertise to effectively manage their work. They take the time to keep up with the latest developments in the industry,” Google states.

They deal with discouragement

The good news for aspiring startup founders who fear they don’t have the confidence to succeed at starting a new business is that some of the biggest names in entrepreneurship feel the same way. Everyone (who is not deluded or grossly misinformed) sometimes doubts their abilities. The best founders simply use their uncertainty as an incentive to learn and try new things.

“Our data shows that the most effective founders are not as confident as the least effective founders,” Google says.

What is the conclusion of all these findings? Above all, so-called “soft skills” are critical for the success of any startup company. Startup founders need to acquire all of these skills if they want their company to not fail because of “interpersonal issues.”

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