Three Tips to Succeed When You Work at a Startup

media-fieldsWe think it’s important to heed advice from successful folks. Agreed?

And even though David Klein doesn’t work in the media (he’s the co-founder and CEO of a finance startup called CommonBond), his insight makes perfect sense.

He tells us via email, “I’ve noticed three qualities all beginning with ‘A’ that differentiate the bad from the good and the good from the great.”

1. Accountability. Have high standards. This applies to yourself and others as well. If you’re on the hook to get something done, he says, “Be accountable for doing it and doing it well.” If it goes well, let others lead the praise.

And what if it goes poorly? Be the first to admit it. This will result in an increased sense of reliability. People will find you reliable and then additional responsibilities will follow.

2. Attitude. It really does come down to attitude. If you don’t demonstrate a positive “can do” attitude, it’s game over. “You might as well go home and stay there,” he points out.

Consider the startup vibe — aggressive goals, an intense work ethic, a highly charged environment. “The best arbiter of all that energy,” he says, “is a good attitude. It’s what allows us to push the business forward in productive and tangible ways.”

Plus, a good attitude is a giving one — give your time, support and knowledge without being asked. “There is little room for entitlement or ego.”

3. Action orientation. Instead of focusing about doing the job, focus on getting it done. Klein notes:

“Those who embody this distinction are the ones who push forward. They don’t let an unanswered email or even a ‘no’ get in the way of what needs to happen. They are flexible in finding a way forward.

Sometimes, they find a path forward when nobody else sees one. And then they lead us down that path. Persistence and grit are their two most trusty possessions in delivering results.”

So, what exactly does this look like? If the first approach didn’t work, you can say, “I took another. That wasn’t working either. But I kept trying until I got what we needed.”

Publish date: December 16, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT