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From Start-Up to Grown-Up: Grow Your Leadership to Grow Your Business

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Every start-up founder feels confused, overwhelmed and uncertain at various times. The key to managing the relentless turmoil of a start-up is learning to manage yourself. From Start-Up to Grown-Up gives you, the founder and CEO of a great start-up, the knowledge and experience that executive coach Alisa Cohn has gained from helping companies such as Etsy, Foursquare, Every start-up founder feels confused, overwhelmed and uncertain at various times. The key to managing the relentless turmoil of a start-up is learning to manage yourself. From Start-Up to Grown-Up gives you, the founder and CEO of a great start-up, the knowledge and experience that executive coach Alisa Cohn has gained from helping companies such as Etsy, Foursquare, InVision and The Wirecutter become headline names. Growth of your company begins with growth within you. The book provides you with effective and practical ways of maximizing your strengths, defusing your triggers, controlling your self-doubt and building on your motivators. With these self-management tools, you can then turn your attention to managing your team by ensuring the flow of communication and finding the joy of delegation and the soul in meetings. Finally, you gain practical tools for managing the company and ensuring overall effectiveness of your team and strategy. Filled with stories drawn from the author's experience, From Start-Up to Grown-Up helps you build a company with a set of core values that everybody lives by and where everyone shares a vision of where the company is going and how to get there.


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Every start-up founder feels confused, overwhelmed and uncertain at various times. The key to managing the relentless turmoil of a start-up is learning to manage yourself. From Start-Up to Grown-Up gives you, the founder and CEO of a great start-up, the knowledge and experience that executive coach Alisa Cohn has gained from helping companies such as Etsy, Foursquare, Every start-up founder feels confused, overwhelmed and uncertain at various times. The key to managing the relentless turmoil of a start-up is learning to manage yourself. From Start-Up to Grown-Up gives you, the founder and CEO of a great start-up, the knowledge and experience that executive coach Alisa Cohn has gained from helping companies such as Etsy, Foursquare, InVision and The Wirecutter become headline names. Growth of your company begins with growth within you. The book provides you with effective and practical ways of maximizing your strengths, defusing your triggers, controlling your self-doubt and building on your motivators. With these self-management tools, you can then turn your attention to managing your team by ensuring the flow of communication and finding the joy of delegation and the soul in meetings. Finally, you gain practical tools for managing the company and ensuring overall effectiveness of your team and strategy. Filled with stories drawn from the author's experience, From Start-Up to Grown-Up helps you build a company with a set of core values that everybody lives by and where everyone shares a vision of where the company is going and how to get there.

30 review for From Start-Up to Grown-Up: Grow Your Leadership to Grow Your Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jung

    Before you can lead your start-up effectively, you need to have a strong handle on your own behavior and communication style. After all, managing others is about helping them grow, which means striking a balance between motivation and holding them accountable. As your start-up grows, put in structures and systems to support you. That way you can be sure that everything is in place to help you on your path to scale-up. Actionable advice: Give new employees a personal operating manual. During onboard Before you can lead your start-up effectively, you need to have a strong handle on your own behavior and communication style. After all, managing others is about helping them grow, which means striking a balance between motivation and holding them accountable. As your start-up grows, put in structures and systems to support you. That way you can be sure that everything is in place to help you on your path to scale-up. Actionable advice: Give new employees a personal operating manual. During onboarding, make clear what you expect of your team. A great way to do this as CEO is to set out how someone can work best with you in the form of a personal operating manual. A personal operating manual describes what you know about how you work. How do you like to be contacted? Do you want a heads-up before receiving a call? Do you prefer to mull over decisions or make them on the spot? And, do you tend to change your mind? Encourage others in your start-up to produce an operating manual, too. That way, everyone’s on the same page from the get-go. --- Counteract self-doubt by thinking back to past successes. Another founder, Jake, was struggling to get his investors to put more money into his start-up. The investors were skeptical about revenue growth and cost structure. They wanted to see a new backer step in to take on some of the risk. The uncertainty sent Jake into a tailspin. What if he couldn’t raise the round elsewhere? What if this meant the end of the company? He became convinced that people would discover that he was unable to get more funding from his investors and conclude he was a bad leader. When coaching him, the author told Jake that actually, his fundraising skills were probably fine. It was his mindset that needed tweaking. The key message here is: Counteract self-doubt by thinking back to past successes. Facing repeated rejection can take a toll and lead to feelings of self-doubt and negative self-talk. It’s common for founders to have a negative script running in their heads, particularly at times of high stress. But it’s been shown to negatively affect performance. When you’re in a state of self-doubt, you aren’t getting an accurate picture of your competencies – you tend to focus on all of your shortcomings, while totally undermining your successes. To counteract the negative effects of self-doubt, forget your inner critic and focus on gathering evidence. Take some time to think about your past achievements and write them down. You want to create a highlight reel of your successes. That way you can call on it for a confidence boost whenever you’re feeling shaky. Remember Jake? After the author instructed him to create his own highlight reel, he recalled times he’d succeeded in securing investment in the past and was able to soothe his anxiety. With less anxiety, he could endure rejection without being deterred and had more headspace to keep looking for solutions, until eventually he landed his funding round. You don’t have to put up with self-doubt and criticism. When you find yourself in the middle of a storm, tune into and challenge those niggles and worries. In fact, you don’t even have to wait for disaster to strike. Pull up a story or two from your highlight reel every morning and you’ll notice that it helps you build an ongoing confident mindset. As you’re about to find out, repetition works wonders. --- Establish a set of routines around your workday to boost motivation. Have you ever watched Rafael Nadal play tennis? Before a match, he’s known to drink his energy gel, water, and recovery drink in precisely the same order every time. This routine is a ritual he uses to center himself. Little rituals like this are common in sport – like in baseball, when the batsman steps out to swing the bat, and maybe looks up at the sky before he’s ready to get back into position and make a hit. Think of leadership as a sport that requires you to show up and perform your best each day. Simple rituals can help get you into gear, too. The key message here is: Establish a set of routines around your workday to boost motivation. Get your day off to the best start by setting an alarm clock that’s not your phone. Keep a pen and paper nearby and when you wake, take five breaths and then immediately write down five things you’re grateful for. Only then should you get out of bed and get ready. When you get to your desk, before you start work, write down three things you want to get done that day. This can be anything work-related or even personal. Finally, write down one thing you want to let go of. For example, maybe you want to get rid of negative self-talk as we discussed earlier. Or maybe you want to let go of a specific worry. One of the author’s clients, Joyce, was an overwhelmed founder of a consumer app and mother of two who was at her wit’s end. After a month of trying this routine, she noticed she could handle any mishaps better, and found it easier to identify things she was grateful for in the face of them. It proves that how you kickstart your day is important. But there are also things you can do throughout the day to get a kick of energy or motivation. Maybe try some jumping jacks, for example, when you feel the mid-afternoon slump coming on! Finally, establish a third ritual to wind down at the end of your day. Journaling can be a powerful evening routine that encourages self-reflection, while helping you step back from the chaos of the workday and setting you up for a fresh start tomorrow. When you proactively incorporate positive habits into your routine, you’ll have so much more motivation for the meandering journey that is growing your start-up. --- The more people you hire, the more you need managers and HR support. An early-stage start-up can feel like a wild ride. You’re making it up as you go along but everything feels fresh and exciting. If things go well and the company gets a first round of funding, you know your chances of doing it again are possible. You keep going and going until – fast-forward – you’ve become a company of 50 people. Suddenly, you have way too many people to manage personally. No matter how much you enjoyed winging it at the start, if you want to keep growing, it’s time to set up structures to support you. The key message here is: The more people you hire, the more you need managers and HR support. At some point, you’re going to have to create a structure to make sure you and your employees are all working together productively. And like it or not, structure implies hierarchy. It’s fine to go the unconventional route. Many start-ups have: Spotify organized their staff into squads, tribes, and guilds, while Hubspot’s sales team is divided into pods. However you wish to structure your teams, the bottom line is that you need a system of roles and responsibilities. The people who lead teams – your managers – hold multifaceted roles. On the one hand, they are your line of communication and the people you rely on to keep you up-to-date. But your managers’ job is equally about helping your employees grow, and it’s up to you as CEO to provide the framework. For example, you could try the GROW model, a question-based approach to coaching developed in the 1980s. First, you set a Goal. For example: What do you want your team to achieve? Next, do a Reality Check: What’s happening in the present? Look at your Options: What are some actions you could take to improve things? And finally, consider your Way Forward: What’s your plan of action? You set out the framework and rely on your managers to take it on. But, depending on how many managers you have, you might not be able to train each one personally. It’s time to bring in a Head of People or an HR function to support you with onboarding, training, and keeping an eye on performance. Having a system in place will ensure your employees are both effective and happy, and means you’ll continue to attract the best talent. Together this team will create a strong system of management that will serve you as you continue to grow. --- Develop metrics to measure progress and guide your start-up forward. When you first start a business, it’s tricky to predict how much you’ll sell or how many new leads you’ll land. In the early stages, selling more in one quarter is considered a mark of success. But what if you could have sold even more than you actually did? This is where metrics come in handy. The concept behind metrics is simple: they measure your progress and guide you toward maximum efficacy. But metrics aren’t just about numbers. The key message here is: Develop metrics to measure progress and guide your start-up forward. Systems and metrics may feel boring and inflexible, but they are critical to running a growing business. They ensure the efficient, predictable running – and scaling – of your start-up. The most basic measurement to watch over is your budget. When you raise a $250,000 seed round, it seems like that money will last forever. But then you rent office space, hire a team, and buy supplies. Before you know it, you’ve burned through half. Having a financial plan in place helps you avoid running into problems. In addition to budgeting, you should also habitually monitor your projects and milestones to see where you – and everyone else – stands. For this it can be useful to create a dashboard, which is simply a spreadsheet set up to capture the status of your most important projects in one place. List your projects in one column. For each item, create a set of milestones along the relevant row. These milestones are your metrics for progress; you’re going to mark the status of each as either green, yellow, or red. Green denotes that everything is on-track. Yellow means that the project is off-track, but there’s a plan to get it back on the rails. Red means it’s totally off-track, and there’s no plan to fix it. Check the dashboard as a team once or twice a week. That way everyone can see where the most important projects are in real-time. Remember, people are motivated by understanding what they are shooting for. The most important metrics will change as your company grows, but your habit of monitoring them shouldn’t. And if you’re really not a fan of systems and processes, you can always hire someone who is.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Serhiy Botulidze

    I heard about Alisa's book when she was a guest on the Tim Ferris podcast. What I really liked about the book is how easy is to read and absorb information. Alisa has done a great job of delivering her message in a simple and concise way throughout the whole reading experience. I never felt a need to guess what she meant or read "between the lines". This simplicity, however, comes at the cost of data. Even though I agree on emotional and empathy importance while having any difficult conversation, I heard about Alisa's book when she was a guest on the Tim Ferris podcast. What I really liked about the book is how easy is to read and absorb information. Alisa has done a great job of delivering her message in a simple and concise way throughout the whole reading experience. I never felt a need to guess what she meant or read "between the lines". This simplicity, however, comes at the cost of data. Even though I agree on emotional and empathy importance while having any difficult conversation, this book seems to lack any proof or strong research background other than personal's Alisa experience. While it's great she was able to coach so many people during her career, I feel like more scientific backing would really help to make her words more persuasive. I'd also like to mention you don't really need to own a startup to benefit from this book. While there's a portion of it focused on how to manage your board of directors, the rest could be effectively used by any manager or team lead even in smaller-scale environments. Another appreciation point is conversation scripts at the end of the book - giving feedback, firing an employee or parting ways with your executive - these are nice go-to templates one could use to figure out how to approach such challenge. Overall, this book is a sold 4 out of 5 and I hope Alisa will write one in future, she's definitely equipped both with skill and experience to share her knowledge effectively and easy to grasp.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Synthia Salomon

    Book of the Day! Key Message: “Before you can lead your start-up effectively, you need to have a strong handle on your own behavior and communication style. After all, managing others is about helping them grow, which means striking a balance between motivation and holding them accountable. As your start-up grows, put in structures and systems to support you. That way you can be sure that everything is in place to help you on your path to scale-up. Actionable advice: Give new employees a personal op Book of the Day! Key Message: “Before you can lead your start-up effectively, you need to have a strong handle on your own behavior and communication style. After all, managing others is about helping them grow, which means striking a balance between motivation and holding them accountable. As your start-up grows, put in structures and systems to support you. That way you can be sure that everything is in place to help you on your path to scale-up. Actionable advice: Give new employees a personal operating manual. During onboarding, make clear what you expect of your team. A great way to do this as CEO is to set out how someone can work best with you in the form of a personal operating manual.  A personal operating manual describes what you know about how you work. How do you like to be contacted? Do you want a heads-up before receiving a call? Do you prefer to mull over decisions or make them on the spot? And, do you tend to change your mind? Encourage others in your start-up to produce an operating manual, too. That way, everyone’s on the same page from the get-go.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darya

    This is a lovely book that guides a start-up founder through the leaked and valleys of a company building journey. You can find a lot of topics covered from managing self to managing team, from dealing with cofounder to hiring and firing friends and external people. There are many situations described from real life examples and you can find some scripts for most common at the end of the book. The style is like a coaching session that makes you think and helped to reflect on your particular situ This is a lovely book that guides a start-up founder through the leaked and valleys of a company building journey. You can find a lot of topics covered from managing self to managing team, from dealing with cofounder to hiring and firing friends and external people. There are many situations described from real life examples and you can find some scripts for most common at the end of the book. The style is like a coaching session that makes you think and helped to reflect on your particular situation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    月亮与六万亿镑.

    Before we can lead your start-up effectively, we need to have a strong handle on our own behavior and communication style. After all, managing others is about helping them grow, which means striking a balance between motivation and holding them accountable. As our start-up grows, put in structures and systems to support us. That way we can be sure that everything is in place to help us on our path to scale-up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chel

    Integrating research, but written in a conversational style, this book provides plenty of examples which makes it an inspiring read. It covers a broad range of topics from culture, to strategy, to leadership and recruitment. It's a great resource. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review Integrating research, but written in a conversational style, this book provides plenty of examples which makes it an inspiring read. It covers a broad range of topics from culture, to strategy, to leadership and recruitment. It's a great resource. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ku

    This author give well thought out and practical advice on how to grow your company. The scripts are especially valuable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Asan Kurmanguzhin

    Solid book. Similar to CEO Within book, but more on empathy/emotional intelligence side. I especially liked the chapters on board and co-founder management as they are original and value-adding.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Messmer

    This book eases a bit of the harried feeling I'm sure every new business owner has when they start. Starting a business isn't for sissies, and this book puts it all in perspective. Read it. This book eases a bit of the harried feeling I'm sure every new business owner has when they start. Starting a business isn't for sissies, and this book puts it all in perspective. Read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Maccheese

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alexandria

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liliana Yi

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cole

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bala .R

  16. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Migyanko

  17. 5 out of 5

    Atharva Kadam

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joan Liu

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tessa Cau

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anssi Rantanen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michał Bieńko

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lars Hansson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad Attique

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony Chen (Cornell Mixers)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jorge Abian

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anurag Tambe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beto de Castro Moreira

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike Biven

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