Ventures in Residence Roundtable: Staying Organized
Call it a pivot, opportunity for growth, rebrand, or chrysalis -- most startups are undergoing some process of change. Startups are constantly pivoting, piloting, and adapting, but there are few models founders can turn to to navigate those changes, and stay on track to meet their goals. If you’re a founder trying to transform substance abuse recovery, change what it means to develop audience relationships, re-imagine the future of gaming, or disrupt any system in any industry, traditional business organizational structures just won’t cut it.
Glen Nelson Center’s role is to connect Ventures in Residence companies to the tools, resources, and strategies they need to take their ideas to the next level. That’s why we convened a workshop about Organizational Operating Systems - processes that can allow change to happen as effortlessly as possible, and as fast as your market demands it.
We focused on three primary “buckets” by which to organize the operations of a startup:
Our team facilitated a group conversation about how our Ventures Companies approach these “buckets” within their own operating system. We’re firm believers that the best advice can be found in community -- by swapping notes with people going through the same thing as you. Here are four strategies our Venture in Residence companies use to keep on top of constant change:
On keeping part-time staff involved with short-term planning:
“Each of our staff has ownership over the work assigned to them, but that can sometimes end up feeling like silos. For our part-time staff, this creates an added challenge because they’re not always in the office to observe the very different work their colleagues are driving all around them. We’ve developed a system for weekly staff check-ins every Monday, and will be implementing 15 minute check-ins with each other each day. As we onboard new clients into our workflow process, we plan to record videos using Loom for staff to use as references later.” - Imagine Deliver
On holding meetings without knowing exactly what the next quarter will bring:
“We organize our meetings based on function. For each component of our building -- marketing, technology, etc. -- we evaluate what worked or didn’t work in the past week, and determine a new strategy that we want to test moving forward. Because our company is constantly adapting, it’s helpful for us to check in around week-to-week goals.” -Recovree
On implementing Traction strategies to organize your work:
“When we decided to organize our business based on the Traction system, it really helped that we have someone on our team who is committed to holding us accountable to the “rules” -- especially when it comes to efficient meetings.” -Groundsource
On cooperating instead of collaborating:
“Our workflow is oriented around specific projects. We begin each project by thinking about the stakeholders we want to be at the table. It’s important that we don’t “double-dip” on project roles, and that we build room for the different viewpoints and sets of skills that each of our stakeholders brings with them. Our work [publishing games] is also very research-focused. Being intentional about the folks we convene allows each person to pull research from their own skill sets that they can contribute to the group effort.” -GLITCH
When successfully executed, a good organizational operating system can relieve much of the stress and additional risk that comes with the “constant change” of keeping a start-up venture afloat. And when there are systems in place that facilitate change, those changes start to feel less like chaos, and more like intention.