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Ankota: Home Care Next Generation Blog

Does your home care start-up have the right personalities to thrive?

Today I read an interesting article in Fast Company entitled Building Blocks and it made me think that this article can apply to home care as well as it does to other types of start ups.  

While Ankota is not a home care company, per se (we make software used by home care companies), these personalities are certainly important to our start-up.  I'll use Ankota as a case study to talk about how these personality traits fall into our mix.  Note that in the case of Ankota (and as a general rule) an individual person can demonstrate more than one personality trait.  Let's dig into the list of 6:

  1. The DreamerEvery startup needs a dreamer. It's a motivating force in creating the company from day one and a sustaining force every day after. Most CEOs and founders have this characteristic, but it's not exclusive to management. The dreamer inspires, excites, and leads the company from a sky-high view.
    • Our CEO Will Hicklen was frustrated when caring for hisWill Hicklen wife Sandy and his mom who both died of cancer in 2008.  He dreamed that care coordination could be easier and that inspred him to start Ankota
    • Hunter YoungOur Chief Medical Officer, Hunter Young, also dreamed about better care at lower cost.  He recognized that an avoided hospitalization means a happier and healthier patient and saves money, and that better care coordination between the hospital system and the community would lower health care costs.

  2.  The Manager: The manager takes a dream and makes it Marc Ottingerhappen. He or she is pragmatic, reliable, and has the initiative to turn ideas in action items. Charisma is less important here, it's all about being approachable, trust-worthy, and forward thinking. The manager understands that while the team needs a vision, it also needs tangible tasks to execute. The manager defines roles, outlines goals, and ensures that each individual is hitting the mark.
    • Marc Ottinger, our COO, is the manager.  He's always looking for a structure and a process.  He wants an agenda and a task list.  He takes notes and goes back to them and checks them off.
  3. The BuilderThe builder thinks like an architect and acts like a tradesman. He or she has a clear understanding of the company vision and knows how to create it. The builder knows when to seek counsel and when to make an executive decision. He or she is intuitive, bright, and inventive. Ever worked with someone who, with little direction, seems to understand and create exactly what you want? That's the builder at work. I can't emphasize the value of this person enough.
    • In Ankota, I'm the builder (I'm Ken Accardi, the CTO).  I can't take full credit for "creating exactly what you want" but I'm not afraidKen Accardi to take my best shot at getting something built to fulfill the vision of our company or one of our customers.  I've found that by listening intently, I'm able to build something that is "close enough" and then adjust it to meet the need.
  4. The Workhorse: The workhorse is happy to step up and do whatever it takes to make the company engine purr. You will never hear the words: "It's not my job" come out of this person's mouth, and as a result, they will become your rock. The workhorse gets things done behind the scenes, be it ordering office furniture, assisting other team members, or following up on a suggestion you once made in a meeting. In all honesty, chances are most people in a startup will have the workhorse personality trait. Their egos don't need to be stroked, but a little recognition goes a long way.
    • I think this one is me too...  But this has to do with my role as technology leader and the fact that we're a technology company
  5. The Penny Pincher: Anyone who's been part of a founding team will empathize with the experience of boot strapping. Funding (if and when it comes) is sweet, but you can never quite shake intolerance for wastefulness and the joy that comes from frugality. I respect team members that understand the importance of being efficient with budgets. The penny pincher questions every purchase and never commits to a cost without first considering the alternative options. He or she is creative with budgets, doesn't spend unnecessarily and understands the difference between need and want (and is accepting of the difference). The penny pincher personality trait speaks volumes to me--it means he or she cares about the long-term health of my company and is committed to getting me there
    • Clearly Marc Ottinger is our penny pincher!  We love him for it!
  6. The Social Butterfly: When there's work to be done it's tempting to create a vacuum. The earphones go on, the chat is switched off, and the body language shouts, "do not disturb." Removing distraction is a vital strategy in getting meaningful work done. Yet, what happens when there's always work to be done? These individual cells of silence can kill company morale when repeated over the long term. Never underestimate the importance of creating strong morale and a fun culture. The person with the ability to create connections among team members, laugh at themselves and others, and shift perspective at the right time, is an essential ingredient to a happy team
    • Will is our social butterfly.  He loves to get out and share the vision.  
    • Marc is a great networker too.  I get the impression that he is still in contact with everyone he's ever met.
Does your home care start-up have these personality traits?  If not, which ones should you look for in your next recruits?
Fast Company
 Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital. Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

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