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StartupCity Heilbronn Meets Experts from TUM

As a central platform, StartupCity Heilbronn paves the way for entrepreneurs to found their own company and supports them with everything worth knowing about start-ups and entrepreneurship in the Heilbronn economic area: consulting, networking, financing, events and inspiring founder personalities. This week, the StartupCity Meets Experts Event Series provided valuable insights for startups and entrepreneurs as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week. Prof. Miriam Bird and Christina Kößmeier from the Global Center for Family Enterprise at TUM Campus Heilbronn held sessions on two exciting topics.

 

Prof. Miriam Bird and Christina Kößmeier from the Global Center of Family Enterprise at TUM Campus Heilbronn

 

On November 16th, Prof. Miriam Bird, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise and Director Global Center for Family Enterprise (GCFE) at TUM Campus Heilbronn, gave her keynote speech on the topic: “How Do I Form My Entrepreneurial Team?”. Founding teams and their composition have been shown to exert an important influence on strategy development and ultimately on the success of the startup. Studies have shown that companies founded by teams tend to have a higher survival chance, and growth rate, and are often more innovative. But how should these teams be put together? Prof. Dr. Miriam Bird emphasized the importance of combining different, complementary knowledge and skills of team members in order to make successful and well-grounded decisions. Inputs from team members, such as their experience, and social capital, their personality, and their cognitive skills, influence certain team processes, such as conflicts and objectives, or emerging states, such as team cohesion and trust. As a result, these processes then influence the success of the company, which manifests itself, for example, in sales, profitability, and satisfaction of team members. The textbook version therefore is the following: Select team members rationally, according to relevant skills and knowledge that complement each other well. In reality, however, the situation is often different, because typically, people who are very similar and share certain values are likely to come together. Key takeaway: Heterogeneity of skills is often an advantage. However, the homogeneity of values and visions is essential.

Furthermore, Prof. Bird’s lecture dealt with certain conflict potentials, which, according to her, are not necessarily problematic. Task-oriented conflicts, i.e. a disagreement about how common goals can best be achieved, promote creativity and the quality of decisions. Affective conflicts, on the other hand, which often involve interpersonal issues, are detrimental to team success. In addition, the distribution of power among team members has a strong influence on the effectiveness of the team and may possibly outweigh the advantages of a particular team composition. Unequal power distribution often leads to perceived injustice, a discrepancy between those who have power and those who would actually be most capable of solving a problem, and dominance of more powerful team members, so that contributions from less powerful team members are not sufficiently taken into account. “It is therefore very important to ensure that the skills of each team member are fully utilized for each specific problem”, says Prof. Bird. Finally, Prof. Bird presented a checklist for a capable entrepreneurial team, followed by concrete questions by the participants of the talk.

Christina Kößmeier, who is the Center Manager of the Global Center for Family Enterprise, addressed the question: “Distraction – How Can I Work in a More Focused Way?” in her lecture on November 18th. Especially for founders, distraction can become a problem if they feel the need and pressure to be available at all times. In her lecture, Christina Kößmeier showed that distraction by internal and external factors, such as our environment, technologies, and ourselves, poses a problem as it often results in multitasking, which has been shown to be highly ineffective. Christina Kößmeier also addressed that certain personality traits can lead to getting distracted more easily. These include among others: pursuit of social connectedness, low self-control, high impulsiveness, fear of missing out, and tendency to procrastinate. Entrepreneurs should therefore firstly focus on what distracts them in their work, then think about why they get distracted by these factors, and consequently work on strategies to eliminate these distractors. Viable strategies include for example: restricting access to distractions, limiting the perception of distracting stimuli, e.g. turning off push notifications, and defining time slots for deep work. Contrary to many entrepreneurs’ mindset about needing to be constantly available, Christina Kößmeier also specifically recommends closing one’s e-mail inbox from time to time in order to be able to work with less distraction. Most important takeaway: Actively manage your attention instead of letting yourself get distracted.

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