Life At A Cybersecurity Start-up pt.4

The Dectar Story Revolves Around Cohesion

With a set-up that you now know fairly well, such as a fully remote workforce interacting over the internet, a sometimes chaotic situation in terms of progress towards profitability and the status of a “scale-up”, Dectar constantly needs to stay grounded at all levels. Any organization should be functioning properly at all times, be agile and react fast. Especially when it’s still limited in size.

One of the main advantages of having an up and coming small/medium business is the ability to be flexible, move fast and seamlessly. Those characteristics may be difficult to find in big enterprises or public institutions but are a true necessity in a start-up that’s moving towards being a scale-up in the tech industry.

Value Of Team Work

The key to good team work that leads to success can be summarized in one word: cohesion.
Cohesion within each department’s members and among the various departments that were already there from the first years (i.e. product development) and others that were created along the way, some of them being also brand new (i.e. Commercial).

A flat org chart may be very modern and standard nowadays but it does not suffice. In Dectar, like in other small & medium businesses in the post-covid era, we strive to obtain the highest possible level of cohesion across the whole organization. 

One of the tactics may seem kind of trite, but the usual “weekly alignment” must be made fun, relevant, efficient and have everyone come out with a better morale than they had before. Several people also established a good practice to talk to each other at least every other day, albeit informally, over the phone. That’s so old style for some, but helps spontaneity and build relationships at senior level and not only.

The point is: you do not need to set a meeting to talk to someone. That would lower spontaneity and ideas’ sharing.

The “One Team” Concept Ain’t Enough

The principle of “we are one team” is fundamental: you can stick to the agenda, promote the maximum discipline and divide work in micro tasks, sure. But, as a team leader, you’ve still got to engage people and make them engage with each other.

How many times have we heard of distinctions or even conflicts between marketing and sales, sales and operations, operations and product management, etc.? Some may even remember an old, albeit actual, publication such as: “Ending The War Between Sales and Marketing”, available online on the Harvard website.

Keys to that outcome are the willingness to endorse the philosophy of being all in the same team and achieve cohesion across departments.

Be Clear And Make Them Communicate Relentlessly

A pivotal element to achieve more cohesion is the widespread efforts to work together towards a common goal.

That goal must be easy to understand, challenging to achieve and yet within reach. It must neither demoralize people nor confuse them: the clearer it is, the easier it will be for each department to work together towards that goal.

Any good goal can be tied to the S.M.A.R.T. paradigm (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) for sure, but full clarity and endorsement at all levels is essential, same as for any widespread project to aggregate humans and direct them towards change or success.

Another pivotal element is the communications’ implementation and their management.

Nowadays, cohesion is at times sought by adding casually multiple tools and making them available to employees.

The seasoned reader, with some enterprise experience, probably would remember the various tools for communication and collaboration that were implemented in Microsoft-based environments through the years: Communicator, Messenger, Skype Pro, Yammer and many more. The fact they’re available doesn’t mean they will work.

Sticking to a certain m.o. during meetings and setting clear practices and best practices for the usage of emails, meetings and messaging tools nowadays is essential. Not doing so would open the door to dispersion, lower efficiency, lower focus, lower productivity.

Establishing, for example, that in a small, agile company “anything important, especially when formal or with attachments, is to be sent via email”, whilst “quick communication can function well via instant messaging”, setting clear rules and understanding the recipients will hugely facilitate interactions, understanding and thus cohesion.

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