Category: Conferences and Events, Innovation

Who are your “energy amplifiers”?


energy-amplifiers---121198434Paul English’s (CEO and co-founder of Blade, and co-founder of KAYAK) appearance at the Innovation Forum presented by the Boston Chamber of Commerce was not your typical conversation around innovation. I anticipated hearing about his techniques and wondered if it would be another presentation filled with some of the most popular buzzwords in business such as “innovative” which last appeared on a top ten list published by LinkedIn.

Paul explained how recruiting the right team is critical to fostering innovation. Paul believes culture and team dynamics are the keys to entrepreneurial success and is passionate about hiring the right people and fostering the right culture. Paul ranks Team, Customers, and Profits – in that order of importance, to building successful companies.

So what does he look for when hiring his team? Paul is focused on four key areas:

  • Bandwidth – Can they take on more responsibility?
  • Attitude – Key to this is listening skills. Paul’s experience is that hardcore athletes and musicians tend to have great listening skills.
  • Diversity – Ethnic, language, academic.
  • Lack of dysfunctional behaviors – This one is my favorite. Diverse personalities are valued. Annoying behaviors are not!

Paul promised his employees he will make them more productive and they will have more fun. He hates large, bureaucratic team meetings and encourages decision making at every level.  In exchange, he asks for their commitment to be their best and act as “energy amplifiers” for the firm. We can all recognize energy amplifiers as the people who increase the energy around them and the team is excited to work with.

Paul carries this concept when assessing firms for venture capital investing. He rates seed investment requests in three areas:

  • 70% Team mojo
  • 20% Market opportunity
  • 10% The idea

If there are great team dynamics and a realistic market opportunity, the idea has a much better chance of success.

My takeaway? Innovation can be more than a buzzword. With the right team creating the right energy, innovation happens!

Anne Hebard-Duduch

Anne Hebard-Duduch

With over 25 years in financial servicing, Anne Hebard-Duduch has extensive experience in all aspects of retail and institutional servicing functions, including: relationship management, operations management, transition oversight, sales and marketing, and product development. Anne recently led product development at Boston Financial, providing innovative, market-driven solutions. This resulted in several new business lines, including: a digital strategy offering, a financial intermediary oversight solution, and an expanded suite of compliance solutions. Anne currently plays a lead role in managing one of DST's largest and most complex conversions involving one of the industry's largest asset managers. Anne supports DST in the transition of the asset manager's in-house transfer agent platform to the TA2000® platform with operational and relationship management expertise. Anne is a board member of the National Investment Company Service Association (NICSA), member of United Way Women's Leadership Council, and an active participant of industry conferences. Anne holds a BS from the University of Massachusetts and an Executive Diploma in Strategic Direction and Leadership; Certified Management Institute, United Kingdom. Anne's three teenage sons keep her on her toes, and together they enjoy skiing, boating, and her attempts at playing golf.

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