While the final mix of employees in the gene pool will depend on exogenous factors such as relocation and compensation, a manager has the paintbrush to structure a team that mixes varying educational and functional backgrounds, domain expertise, age, and implementation skill.
By addressing a company’s largest risk factors with proven problem solvers and creating a team that welcomes the exchange of ideas and best practices and experience from different areas, a team lead is engineering an organization that has the highest probability of mitigating risk and taking advantage of upside opportunities in the face of change, innovation, risk and lack of clarity into the future. Often the best opportunity may not be the current plan, but an “adjacent possible” solution that offers more room for an innovative approach. In addition the team will be best qualified to respond as the environment changes. In our ePowersoft example, the mix of high profile industry luminaries from market leading firms, junior engineers who represent the best research minds in academia, and experts from adjacent industries has significantly improved the probability of a successful technology innovation.
Every startup must be actively seeking out opportunities, which means actively pursuing the hires that find and exploit those opportunities.
Other risks like marketing and product or segment selection remain and are the next phase of risks, opportunities and hiring. It is important to remember that risk-tuned hiring is not enough! Every startup must be actively seeking out opportunities, which means actively pursuing the hires that find and exploit those opportunities. Repeating the same process of gene pool engineering for the downsides (risks) and upsides (opportunities) of any given industry ensures that the startup is evolving its teams and products in both directions.