Know thyself… as Socrates once famously said, is one of the more important tasks and exercises that we can undergo as people (and professionals).

In fact, Socrates said that we make ourselves appear ridiculous when we try to understand things before we know ourselves first and that understanding our own natures and behaviors has a greater result and yield if we spent time investing in it.

True, true.

In many ways my blog here is a consistent exercise of that principle as I write for myself first and foremost as an exercise of discipline and of self-revelation.

After that, though, I try my hardest to understand other people, especially those that I live and work with. Primarily, my spouse and my (growing) group of kids that I love tremendously.

Following closely, the work that I do is deeply personal and very intimate. This is just the case in the startup world where you end up spending a huge chunk of your life in close-proximity to folks as you build and scale a business.

You ultimately learn who these people are, the good and the bad (and there’s always a healthy dose of both) and this is a positive outcome of building an organization built on trust.

And to build a successful startup you have to know these behaviors, these tendencies, as well as you know yourself because it takes all types to build a good product that people want.

Well, if you want to build something that people really want and desire and need then knowing the tendencies and behaviors are paramount.

As a friend and previous partner used to say… none of these are necessarily right nor wrong, but, rightness or wrongness is achieved when the team’s natural bent is out of balance.

I liked that a lot.

And so when we assessed our team at the time we found that each person on the team had very distinct behavioral patterns that were not only understandable but also predictable.

In terms of product development there were some on the team who were “scope wideners” while others were “scope narrowers” while others we deemed to be “scope neutralists”.

But simply knowing these typical behavioral patterns and how folks on the team naturally made decisions helped us in aggregate. More importantly, we, as a team, discussed these things out in the open, intentionally and explicitly.

And this made all the difference.

Also published on Medium.