Articles Tagged ‘Dealing with Stress’

5 Ways to Deal with Start-up Stress

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

So, you have a lot of great things going on at your quickly growing start-up.

You have great new people trying to learn new jobs. You have new technologies you are learning, and new technologies you are developing and getting to do what you want them to do.

And then, guess what, something big goes awry.

A big client pushes a deadline; a key employee goes down; the sales pipeline doubles or your personal commitments come crashing into your business ones.

I call it start-up stress.

Really it’s just the same stresses you go through day-to-day in any business, but they’re amplified by the exciting and provocative angst of the internal possibilities of being the next big thing and the overwhelming failure rate that goes along with start-ups.

It’s not my first rodeo, so here are five ways I’ve learned to deal with start-up stress. You might find them mildly amusing, but I guarantee they are wildly effective.

1.High Fives and Margarita Fridays: Take time with your team and high-five the week’s successes. Get them out of the office early and share a beer, a glass of wine or a margarita (or of course their favorite non-alcoholic drink is fine too). What could be viewed as non-productive time actually does some very valuable things: it tightens the team through laughter and honest appreciation and also becomes a very productive debriefing time.It’s not my first rodeo, so here are five ways I have learned to deal with these start-up stresses. Y0u might find them mildly amusing, but I guarantee they are wildly effective.

2.The Sonic Scream: Create a uniformly annoying yet incredibly loud sonic scream that you all can do together when stress is starting to stack on top of itself. It sounds funny, and it is. It becomes a crazy way to release, breakthrough and come together as a team. Humor, adrenalin and volume can come together to be your best friend and great way to connect. Just make sure no customers are on the phone.

3.Practical Jokes: Nothing brings a team together more than creating an environment of humor. Start-ups are a lot of hours, deadlines and work. Levity is the best friend of a good team; it also is a powerful way to show your people they are more important than the work.

4.Gamification: It is always amazing how much people get into turning work into a game. Use your key performance indicators to make a scoreboard and compete against each other in the form of points, dollars, lunches or anything that is meaningful to you team. Scoreboards that everybody can see gets the key behaviors out and studied by the rest of the team. It allows your best producers to replicate their efforts and continue to strive to be better. Plus, it’s an incredible way to get people to really enjoy the enormous amount of work that needs to get done. Gamify your business and watch it grow.

5.Co-Create: So much of the fun of making a start-up real is to co-create it with your team. Scheduling time to allow the team to come together and put its signature on your organization consistently allows you to put your best product in the field and allows your people to truly engage in the mission.

Follow these tactics and watch your team engage in a powerful, creative and high performance culture.

Tony Scelzo
Rainmakers Marketing Group

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