I just finished my 4-month internship at a state of the art diabetes technology startup, Mendor, and I can honestly say that it was one most valuable learning experiences in my life so far. Now, I want to share four key lessons I learned during the Summer.
1) Ask feedback
You can learn so much from yourself and the way you operate when you ask feedback constantly. However, I want to point out that you do not probably get the most honest and direct feedback when you ask for it directly. That is why I suggest using a service like SurveyMonkey for asking anonymous feedback.
2) Do not send emails, Call!
I can not emphasise this enough. Email is probably one of the most inefficient ways of communicating in an environment where things need get done fast. If you really want to get things done and you are not able to have meeting with a guy or a gal in person, call them. The busier the person you are trying to reach is, the more important this is.
3) Be proactive, take responsibility
Most startups have do not have enough resources and your co-workers do not have time to look after you. That is why it is as of extreme importance to be proactive and take responsibility. At first, it might be scary to say that I will personally take responsibility on reaching the goal. When you are not working in your own comfort zone that is when you learn the most. Do not be afraid of failing every now and then. Learn from your mistakes!
4) Focus on what is important and say NO more often than YES.
As mentioned earlier, startups have lack of resources. That is why, you, your team and the company as a whole to have an extremely clear picture about the goals. I promise that you will have too many things on your table and it is your responsibility to say no and focus on the things that are really important. Ask yourself, what the most important battles to win are today , this week and during next month. Furthermore, know the things that you are good at and Delegate things that somebody else can do 20% better or faster than you.
5) Offer solutions instead of problems
I can not over emphasise the importance of offering solutions over problems. In an startup, everybody is wearing many hats and working a lot, so they do not have time to think solutions to the problems you tell them. Instead, you should offer solutions to the challenges you have faced or noticed. It shows that you have though about the issues and not just wondering round all the time telling what is wrong. Solutions, not the problems, drive the company forward.
Hopefully you found these tips useful. Now, it is your turn make things happen!