Crystal Stokes and Florian Selch – a known face in the Viennese startup scene – have teamed up professionally to apply psychology concepts to the startup world and the way we build our teams. Crystal has 10+ years of personal fitness training experience as well as a Masters in psychology and specialization on personality testing. Florian is a former military officer, NASA scientist, non-profit and for-profit entrepreneur, and currently a mid-size company CEO. Florian has worked with a variety of teams in the government, business, university and start-up world.
Crystal and Florian have their proverbial MVP out on startups.crystalstokes.com and tried their concept on the sektor5 team. Here’s roughly what happened:
In most successful start-up stories the key make-or-break factor is the team and its self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses, their ability to form a complimentary balance and therefore get to play in the big league. However, human motivations, strengths and weaknesses differ greatly and unless someone is the exact same type as you are, they will have very different fears and motivations. The Enneagram Personality Test can help you in all situations involving other people, because it teaches you how to connect to and communicate with them.
Only once you understood your own type and know the types of your team members you will be able to optimize your interactions.
Crystal’s typing sessions are done in person. She uses a computer test, a few typing cards and generally asks ‘the right questions’. Believe me – it can get a little confronting when someone else recognizes your patterns. It is actually you who determines your type based on how you see yourself. Knowing how you see yourself will help you see your strengths, unwanted habits and blind-spots.
Throwing in a little team dynamics, Crystal and Florian met with the entire sektor5 team after the individual sessions. The group meeting takes about 2 hours and allows for everyone to share their own type and what they learned. We got to discuss challenges the team currently has to deal with and got to apply the knowledge gained to better understand the different view points.
What does that even mean? Well, the sektor5 team has a lot of nine’s, which is to be expected in a service-oriented environment / that of a facilitator. But it is not to say that it is easy for the other team members to fully understand these ‘mediators’. sektor5’s only type eight seems to be in the right position (read: that of the Managing Director), but it is lacking the 7/enthusiast, the 1/perfectionist, and the heart types 2,3, and 4). Making good use of our ‘wings’ and just keeping this in mind will help us balance this out or at least be aware of what skills we need to make up for.
With that knowledge we can really look for the (soft) skills that fit and balance out the team, when hiring new team members. We can get the most out of our team knowing what drives the other person and how to ask for stuff. Crystal and Florian told us the value of a fully functional team when trying to connect to an investor, or a company looking to aqui-hire. We’re very curious where their business will lead and are looking forward to our follow-up meeting(s) and even though we are technically not a startup, we definitely already see improvement in communication during our weekly team meetings.