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60% of startups fail due to team-related problems. ¹ The biggest challenge is the allocation of responsibility and goal setting. ² To prevent such problems early on, this module focuses on defining common goals that motivate and excite all team members.

Lesson 1

If you can precisely identify why it is so important for you to achieve your goal, it will also help you stay motivated during tough times. In addition, it will help you to present yourself authentically and to inspire customers. The author and business consultant Simon Sinek impressively illustrates this in his TED talk. Watch the video and engage with the questions in the "Golden Circle".

Lesson 2: The Mantra

A mantra can help you identify the essence of your project. Guy Kawasaki (former chief evangelist of Apple) explains why it is important to summarize in 3 to 5 words what makes you unique to your customers (even journalists love such short explanations). The art of developing a mantra lies in finding the soul of your project and removing anything unnecessary. This is difficult and may require some iteration, especially if your project is still in development. One technique is to repeatedly ask yourself the "why" question. Usually, you will eventually come to a point that leads towards "making the world a better place." From there, you can then take a step back.

Lesson 3: Team Process

To prepare for teamwork and its ups and downs, it is wise to be familiar with the typical phases in advance. The American psychologist Bruce Tuckman has developed a model for the phases of the team process.

Lesson 4: Strengths and Weaknesses in the Team

Who has which abilities, strengths, and weaknesses should play a major role in how you divide responsibilities in the team, e.g. in marketing, PR, design, product management, operations management, human resources management, finance, engineering, sales, and business development.

Find out which characteristics are particularly pronounced in your team and which ones may be missing. The "16 Personalities" test can be a great help in becoming aware of your own personality traits and finding out what role you take in working with others, based on your own goals, interests, and preferred activities. In addition, you can learn a lot about yourself. It is based on the works of Carl Gustav Jung (founder of analytical psychology), Katharine Cook Briggs, and Isabel Myers.


¹ Wasserman, N. (2012): The founder's dilemmas: Anticipating and avoiding the pitfalls that can sink a startup. 1st edition, Princeton 2012.

² Kummer et al. (2016). Startups do not fail because of the team, but within the team. Eschborn: RKW Rationalization and Innovation Center of the German Economy e. V., p. 8. Retrieved from on 22.03.2020.

³ Tuckman, B.W. and Jensen, M.A.C., 1977. Stages of small-group development revisited. Group & Organization Studies, 2(4), pp.419-427.

⁴ Katzenbach, J.R. and Smith, D.K., 2015. The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. Harvard Business Review Press.
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