Building successful teams in a start up

Building a great team that delivers to strategy and culture is a challenge for all organisations. For start-ups, this is even more true.

(3 minute read)

In every start-up, money, resources, time and just the simple need to focus on the day-to-day delivery and growth all get in the way of finding the headspace to think clearly about developing the existing team and resourcing for growth.

And, of course, one wrong decision can lead to significant cultural and performance issues that can have a dramatic impact.

But focusing on culture right from the start can reap dividends. Even in the exciting and quick changing early days of a start-up, taking a sober and considered view to who we bring into the team is critical – hire slowly, fire quickly.

Vendor Panel, a local tech start-up reimagining the world of procurement – and now in an exciting period of rapid global growth – has focused on culture right from day one.

According to James Leathem, Founder and CEO of VendorPanel,

“We are a FinTech company.  Everyone talks about scaling the business and technology and it has been part of the plan from day one.  What people don’t talk about is scaling culture.  We think this is critical.  If we can get the culture right, everything else falls into place.”

To do this, they have focused on getting the right metrics in place – using TALY to understand first the founding team and then profiling new additions.

This has allowed the team to grow in a way that ensures strong alignment between personality, culture and team dynamics – and a hiring approach that maximises fit to culture and a positive on-boarding experience.

This open dialogue about who we are, and the natural respect it brings to our differences, helps to support a more dynamic and diverse team.

Start-ups by nature have to pull together a broad mix of skills, personalities and experts to play a role across the business – and without open dialogue this can naturally be a point of tension.

“We started out hiring based on gut feel and a traditional recruitment process.  It didn’t always work.  We started using Taly to give us a consistent reference that offered some evidence and solid data to help make our hiring decisions. This has made a massive difference.  We are much, much better at finding people that both fit, and help us grow in the areas where we need more depth.  It is a standard part of every hiring decision.  It also helps as a great management and development tool across the team as new people come on-board.” – James Leathem, Founder and CEO of VendorPanel


What does this mean for you…

  • Take time in decision making – don’t rush into hiring decisions because of an immediate resourcing shortfall.
  • Be clear on who you want to be as you grow. Growth leads to change – and the personality and culture needs to grow with this change, but should not lose the essence of what made you interesting to start with.
  • Start collecting information from early on – like all business decisions, data on our people can be vital in understanding what works and what doesn’t work – taking out the bias.

Building effective innovation teams by starting with personality…

The Challenge

Australia Post is highly innovation-focused, constantly building innovation capability within its teams and looking to uncover new opportunities for growth and to connect with the Australian community.

To assist, Australia Post asked TALY to show them how personality links to innovative performance, and how this information can be used to build strong team and to help individuals to think more innovatively on a daily basis.


The Solution

Any solution in innovation must start with the organisational strategy. TALY tested the team to develop an understanding of the base team, innovation attributes and team mapping. We used this insight to build a bespoke intrapreneurship and innovation profiling tool, customised to the needs of the organisation.

TALY then worked with the team to identify the gaps between an innovative culture and their existing culture and the structural and behavioural barriers that stood in their way. Finally, TALY delivered a full day training program that focused on not just the fundamental innovation process but also incorporated learnings on the individual and the organisation at each stage.

The Impact

Key projects defined through the innovation process are still proceeding through the organisation however all of these projects have been built from human design principles with teams working more effectively together.