Now, how do you motivate them, get them to work as a team, and manage them?
If these are the people you think they are, if they're as good as you believe them to be, then your job is to set the direction and get the hell out of their way so they can do their jobs. Your own job is as facilitator, not boss. You want to make their lives as easy as possible so that they can be productive as possible.
When I left my engineering group at IBM and moved to the field (regional sales office), I thought my job was to evangelize the technologies that I'd developed, to help the sales force and customers understand it. I believed that would be the entirety of my job. I was the guru and they would come to me.
My boss was a rising star in IBM. On my first day, she sat me down and explained what was expected of me. I quickly discovered that there was more to the job than I thought and that I had a lot to learn. I also found that while others on the team respected my technical expertise, they understood that I was a complete beginner when it came to dealing with customers in sales and support environments. My 'boss' had explained to them what my weaknesses were so that they could back fill for me and guide me until I learned the ropes.
The other important thing my 'boss' said to me was that she wasn't my 'boss'. She had a different job than I did, but that we were all part of a team. Her job was not more important than mine and mine wasn't more important than anyone else's. From a work point of view, we were all equals. We had to work together to truly succeed.
While I was a bit skeptical of this 'no-boss' idea, it turned out to be true. She was a facilitator. There were times where someone screwed up (often me), and in a post-mortem, we would figure out what went wrong and how to be better in the future. Often we did team analyses of any failure. And perhaps most fun was when we had a huge success, and we analyzed that too, learning from successes as well as failures.
I used this approach in my subsequent companies and was able to keep a talented team together for many years (in some cases, decades). Most moved with me from startup to startup. In one iteration, I did what my CFO called my grand social experiment. Based on the concept that no job was more important than another and that we were all taking equal risk, I gave everyone, including myself, equal ownership in the company. They gave me proxies for their shares so I could run the company, but when we succeeded, they shared equally.
I don't necessarily recommend this approach unless you've determined that indeed, all of you are taking equal risk. If you like the basic concept, I suggest weighting the ownership based not just on contribution, but on the amount of risk taken as well.
So let's see if we can summarize the lessons I learned, put to practice, then refined in my companies:
- Lay out the mission. As CEO, you are the visionary.
- Make sure that each member of the team understands her/his role and what's expected.
- Make sure that everyone understands your job and what you're going to be doing both on a macro scale and on a day-to-day basis. Micromanagement should not be part of your job description.
- TRUST that your people are there to do the best jobs that they can do. Make their lives easier. If they need to work an unusual schedule, trust them to get their jobs done during the hours they do work. Understand that if they have the flexibility to take care of the demands of their non-work lives when they need to, they'll be much more productive when they do work (which will likely be more often).
Keep in mind your team does need to see each other from time to time, so some common hours are necessary.
- Verify that (4) is working. Help your team make adjustments and course corrections if necessary.
- Repeat 1-5 regularly.
Much of this is TRUST. But assuming you've done your job in selecting the best people, with your guidance and regular verification, you should be able to trust your team members to help you build the best company possible.
For an interesting and amusing video on trust (I must admit that this is cats versus dogs), see Dogs and Cats teaching Trust.