INSTANT MBA: It Takes A Certain Kind Of Employee To Handle The Ever-Changing Startup Environment

Gene Wade

Photo: Gene Wade

Today’s advice comes from our interview with Gene Wade, founder and CEO of UniversityNow:“It takes a certain kind of person to be able to handle pushing for something one day, and pushing against it the next.”

But this is exactly the thing that happens in a startup environment. 

Wade tells us that before you can achieve a repeatable business model, you actually have to search for it. This means that your company will go through all kinds of changes, and you have to employ people who can “live with ambiguity.” These are people who are OK with frequent changes and can handle short-term failures. 

It’s easy for employees to “get demoralized” when the culture and tone of the company is unclear, so to prevent this situation from happening at your own startup, the entrepreneur says you need to be completely honest with your staff as to why the changes are being made, and also to acknowledge that this time might be confusing for your team. 

“I have to constantly tell people at my company, ‘This is where we are, we are not an established company and we’re in a place where we don’t have a repeatable business model yet.’ “

Wade says that this doesn’t mean that what they did last week was “bad work.” This means that everything that anyone does at the company plays an integral role in defining the company’s identity and forming an efficient business model.

“The market place has the right to vote, and as a new company, we’re going to redefine ourselves all the time.”

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