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In our first article we talked about the Marathoner entrepreneurial style. These people think long-term, strategically and perseveringly. Still, they’re not perfect, and you cannot form an entire team with only Marathoners.
You can’t scale with people who only think in the future. In order to scale and build an incredible company, you’ll need Executors whose mind stays in day to day operations.

Executors who scale : Sprinters

Sprinters think about day to day, how they can transform a goal in a step by step process. This is a great thing because one of the common mistakes Marathoner founders make is dream of the future, discuss features they may add next instead of focus on selling one at a time.
Finding balance in a team is hard, but it does play a great role in your potential success. Dreaming about the future is essential to find motivation and ambition but consistently and diligently working at it is the one key to building a solid brand.

Spotting Sprinter types is a fun game you can play yourself. As an example, the Elveo team is incubated at Station F where we have pool tables. We play with other teams every day after lunch and it’s easy to tell apart a Marathoner from a Sprinter founder. For instance, one of them always plays one or two moves ahead: “if I touch ball n°6 I will be in the perfect position for ball n°9”.
The other one thinks about one ball at a time: “I’ll do everything I can to put the n°6 in the hole, and only then will I think about the next one. It’s pointless to think about the next one since I can’t know what will happen next.”

Some may say the first strategy is smarter. But it’s not always the case, as thinking of your next move distracts your focus from what’s right in front of you.
What does that mean for a startup? You’ll need both thinking types to create balance in your decisions. Sometimes one will be more appropriate than the other, which is why you must challenge each other and include both types in your decisions.

You can play pool with potential recruits and try to pay attention to these behaviours:

  • Good at multitasking
  • Jump from task to task and they prefer short timing tasks
  • Prefer facts over intuition and dreams, they need to see the proof
  • Get excited by a new idea or project in a few seconds (but can also get bored quickly)
  • Can act in a very intense manner for short amounts of time
  • Prefer short and high intensity workouts (muscle training, sprint, boxing…)
  • Generally manage their projects “on the go”, along the way instead of planning everything
  • Impatient, they want it now, they need to see the results of their actions as soon as possible (and that’s why they scale so well: they want to see it happening immediately)
  • Won’t make sacrifices, it’s all or nothing. That’s why they’re good traders, they always find a way to get what they want
  • Love changing topics all the time. Everything new can attract them

Usually sprinters are incredible COOs, sales people, good communicators, marketers and everything involving multitasking, advising…
You may find them in positions like sales, consulting companies, startup advisors, etc.

Developing your Sprinter style

If you don’t recognise yourself in these bullet points, you may be more Marathoner than Sprinter. Don’t worry, there aren’t good or bad types, it’s all a matter of balance.

You can improve your behaviours to be more focused on operations (sprinter) than vision (marathoner). Here are a few exercises:

  • Marathoners usually think about the impact of their actions, which is a good thing, but try to be closer to your current needs. Let yourself try new things without pondering the impact
  • Think about how you’ll may make your vision happen. Cut a big dream into small steps, it’s the only way to make it happen
  • Do day to day jobs, don’t always be in the commander seat, work closer to your teams

I hope this advice helps you. Try to succeed at what you’re best at. It’s pointless to desperately try to be someone else, the beauty of human kind is in our differences. The most important thing for your company and your wellness is to take actions relevant to who you are.

  • If you’re a marathoner, take the CEO job, the long-term projects, the strategic needs.
  • If you’re a sprinter, do many different things, focus on day to day operations, make dreams into reality.

A team is all about differences and balance. Find yours!

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