TECH TALK: An Entrepreneur’s Growth Challenge: People

With the vision in place, the challenge before me is to now build the various teams that will need to build and assemble the various jigsaw pieces together. My personal management experience in this area has been quite limited. In IndiaWorld, I had about 20 people to manage and two parts to the business that we were doing portals, and website development. The current Netcore staff strength is much more than that already, and growing. I have a senior management team looking at the different areas. But for most of us, it is our first experience at managing and growing. That makes things all the more challenging.

I have often wondered that given my inherent experience limitations, I should perhaps get in someone to head operations. It is a question I think about every few months. I know I have to do it at some point of time the question is when. My most recent thinking is that I will not look at it right now I have to lead from the front. I have a mental map of what needs to get done which I have shared with and brainstormed with the core team. This map continues to evolve and will do for some time. I have to continue to drive the operations for the foreseeable future.

It is a challenge I am not someone who particularly enjoys the operational part of a business. But I am now growing to like it. The multiple mental models that have formed over the past few years are now coming in handy as we shift gear from thought to action.

A month or so ago, we also recruited an HR manager. We realised that we needed to do a fair amount of recruiting and without an experienced person to lead that process, we would have to go through a lot of trial-and-error to make the right decisions. We also need to now look beyond fresh talent just out of engineering colleges to more experienced talent. This is going to be the priority going ahead.

The next set of recruitments will be key for us the quality of our people will define whether we have a chance at success or we end up as the living dead. As we bring in people into key positions, the one attribute I look for is passion. People have to be excited about what they are doing. There are going to be many ups and downs as we go through the build-out of the Emergic components what Tracy Kidder has called mountains beyond mountains. Solve one problem and there is another waiting to be tackled. We need people who do not get flustered by not having a clear defined roadmap ready for them, and are instead willing to participate enthusiastically in detailing out the terrain that needs to be conquered.

A related challenge will be managing this growth in people. I expect us to grow from 50 to about 75-80 by the end of the year. This will also necessarily introduce some hierarchy and some distance. I have to make sure that we are able to make sure that everyone understands our mission and is motivated from inside, and not just going through the motions of a job that delivers a sustainable livelihood.

Tomorrow: Partnerships

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.