Yesterday was the first night of Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. At the core of the Chanukah story, is the miracle that the oil that was needed to light the menorah in the temple lasted for eight nights, when by the numbers it should have only lasted for one.
This got me thinking about my own company’s unexpected journey this year.
As an entrepreneur, I am constantly asked if it has been difficult to manage my company through a global pandemic (and a national social justice crisis). And, frankly, it has.
It has been exhausting and it has been overwhelming at times; yet, it’s also been filled with a lot of learning and a lot of joy. In many ways, this is how most years have felt running my own business. The main distinction this year is that all of us have been struggling in one way or another, but we have been struggling together, and that has made all the difference.
There’s power in a collective experience, especially in the way that it can foster empathy and bring a community together.
The embarrassment or shame that I have felt in the past when Scouted’s performance was sub-par has now been removed. The pretense around success so often present in the venture community is largely gone. And the external and internal pressure to achieve exponential growth had subsided.
When COVID first hit, I told my team that I would let them know if we only had one month of runway left. In normal times, this would have been extremely destabilizing. But, in these uncertain times, this level of openness was stabilizing for my team. It built trust because they didn’t need to waste energy making assumptions about their future, they knew that I would tell them. (We were fortunate enough to never have this conversation and I am happy to report that Scouted is very much thriving!)
Instead of worrying about how our competitors were doing or coveting companies that could boast closing large rounds of capital, or, quite frankly, if we’d be open for business a month from now, my team has been laser-focused on getting people jobs.
My team understands that now, more than ever, the world needs a place that help you find meaningful work and supports you throughout that process, and, that anything they could do towards that end goal was significant.
Considering everything going on in the world, I have been able to manage my team with a greater level of transparency, and as a result, I have been met with a deeper commitment to our mission.
Click below to read my team’s reflections on what it’s been like for them to work at a seed-stage startup during a pandemic.
Stay Healthy, Stay Strong,
CEO & Co-founder, Scouted