Leadership and startup growth

Leadership and startup growth

by Startup Montréal
6 January 2022

How does leadership contribute to better management of growth within a startup?

A discussion with Guillaume Parent, Founding President, Gallea and Virgile Ollivier, President and Co-founder, Livescale.

What does it mean to be a good leader? Our two guests for this edition of Startup Wednesdays agree that a leader must know at least how to inspire, guide and bring consistency to a group of people so that they progress in the same direction. A leader is a person with vision who knows how to foresee the unforeseeable, takes initiative and doesn’t hesitate to go where other people won’t go.

Leadership, as defined by Guillaume Parent, Founding President, Gallea and Virgile Ollivier, President and Co-founder, Livescale is especially important in a context of strong and rapid growth.

What are the tools of a good leader?

It must be said that there are different types of leaders and different concepts of leadership.

There are technical or knowledge leaders who act as experts in their field within a startup, sharing leaders who stimulate discussion and contribute to the corporate culture, and the type of leaders more often citied, who manage human and material resources associated more with corporate management.

The market is full of resources, training, readings and podcasts for every taste. However, a few tips could help you find the right tools.

  1. It’s impossible to be a good leader if you don’t know yourself. Learning to know your aspirations, your capabilities and, above all, your limits, may be a good starting point in being able to play this role.
  2. You must be willing to learn and know how to listen if you want to embark on the adventure of leadership.
  3. It is also necessary to see leadership as a common good shared with several members of the team.
  4. Strong leadership is based on a well-defined corporate culture, simple values felt by everyone, and the development of a bond of trust among all employees.

Mentoring may be the most concrete tool that allows rapid progress for all kinds of leaders. Networking among leaders and mentors can be created through our company whenever possible.

Virgile and Guillaume capitalize on very human leadership. They listen to their teams and endeavour to show a lot of empathy when a special situation arises. They also both work on development of emotional intelligence.

How can you build strong leadership when a startup has several co-founders?

The first step is to ensure that the individuals around the table share the same vision, even if they have competencies that are often complementary and come from different fields. Defining a common vision will allow you to refer to it at any time when making important decisions.

The dynamic between co-founders leads them to more questioning of each other’s leadership. This is a healthy process because it stimulates a constant evolution of people and business.

Having several leaders is a source of wealth to look for information in different sectors of the organization. This is a concrete way to do more listening within teams.

What role does leadership play in growth?

Leadership will have a major impact on the ability to create a solid foundation for the company, seize opportunities and anticipate different growth scenarios. If these factors are present, it will be easier to make the company operational in a growth context.

In a startup context, you must be aware that you’re building an aircraft while in flight so you need to know how to adjust constantly.

How can you plan sustainable growth?

If you want to execute quickly, even in periods of risk, such as COVID-19, you must be able to see what’s coming and write the different growth scenarios that can be envisioned in the business context in which you are operating. If you have already learned from the start to deploy quick and efficient recruitment and induction processes, if you have a good knowledge of your brand message and your products, you will find it easy to be agile in adapting and modulating them.

Ultimately, it’s a question of knowing your indicators and trusting your instincts.

For a deeper understanding of the subject, we invite you to watch the video of this edition of Startup Wednesdays..