Luke Chesser on Unsplash

Why I Joined FundBoard - TP

January 26, 2021

It just felt right.

I could end this post there, and the core message would remain the same.

In each of my past roles, I learned something about myself and my relationship with work. Those learnings then informed the subsequent steps in my career.

For example, after my time at Techstars, I knew an earlier-stage environment with ample opportunity for growth and ownership was a must. This lead me to my role at Sphero. Through the transitions into and out of core career experiences, three guiding principles bubbled up to the surface and now inform which opportunities I pursue. This role at FundBoard fits all three with room to spare.

Principle #1: My work must be meaningful to the business

There's no better feeling than watching the work you do directly affect the health of the business. There are two scales I use to measure meaningful work: ownership and impact.

Ownership is the product of responsibility and trust. At FundBoard, ownership is illustrated by the concept of "sandboxes." A sandbox is a part of the business that somebody is responsible for. The team trusts that each sandbox owner is acting in the best interest of their corner of the business, and therefor the business as a whole.

Impact can be described as the things you do in your sandbox directly contributing to the  success of the business. Every role in an org matters, but there are only a handful of roles that the business simply could not function without. Those are the roles I'm drawn to — probably the reason I ended up in operations.

Principle #2: The team is bound together by shared values

Relationships can weather serious turmoil if they're built on a strong foundation of shared values. The same is true of co-founders' relationships with one another and their collective relationship with a business.

It's one thing to claim to have a set of values and quite another to live them. In my experience, co-creating a shared set of values and then surfacing those values in everyday dealings is critical to healthy company culture.

At FundBoard, the values binding our team together are frequently on display — assumptions are examined, feedback is given and received with respect, and trust is the default. Building a lasting, values-driven culture does not happen by accident, and the way the FundBoard team approaches culture is a rarity.

Principle #3: I care if the company exists

This is not about whether I want the company to succeed. That much should be a given out of sheer self preservation. No. This 'caring' is of a more fundamental kind.

I have to care about the ultimate value the company delivers to the world. When asked, "if this all goes away tomorrow, will you be disappointed that the world is no longer receiving this company's value?" the answer needs to be, "Yes!"

My answer to that question was not always "yes." I used to think that a passion for solving problems would be enough to carry the day and keep me engaged when the going got tough. I was wrong. Without that safety net of passion about what the business is doing, burnout is inevitable in the doldrums of a startup's lifecycle.

While working with FundBoard as a contractor, it became clear my three principles were alive and well in the work I was doing. The inflection point came where it was a go or no-go on pursuing the Co-founder role. It just felt right.

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