Team Productivity

Empowering Your Team to Do More with Less: Leadership Lessons from TeamGantt

Laura LaPrad
August 30, 2018
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Looking for fresh ideas to help you inspire your team? You’re in luck! We’re taking a page from history (our own) and sharing lessons we’ve learned building TeamGantt from the ground up.

Since launching TeamGantt in 2010, we’ve gone from a scrappy startup to a multimillion-dollar company with thousands of customers and 20 remote team members. We did it without investors and nowhere near Silicon Valley—and learned a ton along the way.

Whether you’re new to leadership, have a few years under your belt, or manage a team of 2 or 20, this 6-part series will show you how to:

  • Build a team that’s motivated and engaged
  • Increase productivity and prevent burnout
  • Establish trust with and among team members
  • Continue growing as a leader

Let’s start by laying some groundwork.

Why we funded TeamGantt on our own

The way Hollywood tells it, you can’t launch a successful startup without moving to Silicon Valley and securing loads of investor funding.

But when cofounders John Correlli and Nathan Gilmore set out to build TeamGantt in 2009, they made a bold decision: to forego outside investors and fund TeamGantt completely on their own.

Why go it alone? Because John and Nathan wanted the freedom to focus 100% on building a product people would love—without worrying about keeping investors happy.

“Our customers are our funding,” John explains. “If you’re solving the customer’s need, they’re going to keep investing in you.”

If there’s one thing John and Nathan learned from bootstrapping TeamGantt, it’s that you don’t have to follow tradition to build a rockstar team. Here’s a quick look at 2 simple takeaways that shaped the way John and Nathan fearlessly lead TeamGantt today.

Lesson #1: You can do big things with small resources

When TeamGantt got started, John and Nathan were just 2 guys working out of a basement in the suburbs of Baltimore with no seed money to speak of. They didn’t have the luxury to quit their day jobs or hire a big team to get TeamGantt out faster.

So they made the most of what they did have: 4 hours every Saturday morning.

Making progress in such a small window of time required patience and prioritization. By focusing on one important thing each week—without getting distracted by “nice-to-haves”—John and Nathan were able to release a beta version of TeamGantt in just 6 months, with a public release 7 months later.

That super-focus, with a commitment to staying lean, has been a cornerstone of TeamGantt’s culture as the team has grown.

“There will always be distractions or more areas we could try as we add people,” Nathan says. “We’d rather do a few things really well than try to spread ourselves too thin.”

Lesson #2: It’s okay to break convention

In most corporate circles, working just 36 hours a week would get you fired. But here, a 36-hour week is the norm. What’s more, we can work from anywhere we like because TeamGantt is a 100% remote company.

That’s all thanks to bootstrapping.

Without investors weighing in, John and Nathan said to heck with convention and built a company they’d actually want to work for. Since work/life balance matters deeply to John and Nathan, they put it at the heart of TeamGantt’s culture.

Going remote and limiting your team’s work hours might feel like a scary leap to take, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s enabled us to have our pick of talent across the nation. What’s more, team members start their day refreshed and work where they can be most productive. We consider that a win-win!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg

These are just a couple of things we’ve learned on our journey so far. But we’ve got a lot more to share.

Be sure to check out the other lessons in this series so you can continue learning and growing as a leader. 

Want to help your team work smarter?

TeamGantt makes it easy to eliminate confusion, streamline communication, and beat project deadlines. Even better, you’ll save time and energy on project setup so you can focus on doing the work that matters most.

Of course, don’t just take our word for it. Give TeamGantt a free try to see for yourself!

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