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Advisor Series – Garry Chan: Employee happiness and organizational success

In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship and business, striking the right balance between employee happiness and organizational success remains a perpetual challenge. To shed light on this issue, we sat down with Garry Chan, one of the accomplished advisors at ventureLAB, who shared his invaluable insights gained over three decades of experience in the entrepreneurship world.

Garry's journey began three decades ago when he moved to Toronto and co-founded a business with two partners. What started as a small venture eventually expanded into a global enterprise with nearly a hundred employees across multiple countries. His journey has been a masterclass in understanding the significance of employee contentment in fostering business success.

In his present role as an advisor in ventureLAB's Accelerate AI program, Garry has made a positive and enduring impact on the AI and enterprise software companies, sharing insights from his entrepreneurial journey, and acting as their trusted advisor and sounding board. He is involved in forging a customer-centric approach to everything a company does, building a strong product/technology foundation, creating a high-performance team culture, and challenging and supporting founders to execute on their 10x goals .

Finding Balance

Garry believes that at its core, a business exists to serve its customers. A verifiable measure of a company’s success is its ability to generate revenue, and attain profitability. 

When asked about the secret to a company’s success, he expressed that in addition to the usual recipe of delighting customers and striving for operational excellence,, he tried to scale his business through other perspectives, which included minimizing risks and chances of failure, and maximizing happiness of the team.

In order for a company to be bigger than the sum of its parts, it must focus on building a strong, motivated, cohesive, and happy team. However, Garry observed a paradox in the world of startups, that building a strong team alone is not sufficient to produce a successful business. After all, there are many companies failing despite having a strong workforce. So this raises a fundamental question: how does one build a strong team that helps a company succeed?

Personal Development

From his personal perspective, Garry believes a strong team starts from individualized attention and tailored growth trajectories for each employee of the team. Understanding each team member's unique motivations and crafting strategies that resonate with their individual aspirations is crucial to maximize employee’s happiness and satisfaction. When these talented and ambitious team members feel respected and valued, and are encouraged to grow and seek self-actualization within the company, they tend to strive to become high-performing professionals, thereby forging a high-performing team culture from the ground up, When strategically aligned with the company's goals, this approach can yield exceptional results. Read here for more benefits of personal development in the workplace.

Scaling Happiness

As organizations grow larger, implementing such a personalized approach can become exponentially challenging, as it is impractical to provide individualized care for thousands of employees, meaning that scaling personalized approach to understand individual employees’ needs becomes crucial, which often requires routine touchpoints and structured one-to-many strategies. However, it is imperative that as companies scale, they should not only strive to continue to delight their customers, they should also continue to ensure they include their employees’ individualized happiness as part of their growth strategy.

“We hope ventureLAB’s Accelerate AI could play a pivotal role in helping our companies in the program maximize their team’s happiness and satisfaction.” - Garry Chan, Advisor, ventureLAB

Seeing the importance of balancing operational and product excellence with the individual well-being of team members, one of ventureLAB missions is to help companies attract and retain top talent in the tech ecosystem while expanding, ensuring that as the companies in the program grow, the commitment to each team members’ happiness and satisfaction remains a priority.

Garry's insights on employee happiness and organizational success offer a pragmatic and balanced perspective. While the overarching goal of achieving business success is essential, prioritizing employee satisfaction is equally crucial to create a productive environment for everyone in your startup. Garry's emphasis on understanding individual motivations and creating tailored growth trajectories highlights the human aspect of every business that is seeking equilibrium between employee’s personal passions and the sustainability of the enterprise.

About Accelerate AI

Led by our seasoned expert advisors and business leaders Garry Chan, Krishna Vempati, Gaurav Bansal and Kamal Hassin, this free comprehensive 6-month program will propel Accelerate AI companies to solve the modern-day challenges of the supply chain industry by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning into their established product offerings. We are excited to watch the immense growth of these companies as they tackle some of the most challenging entrepreneurial hurdles in technology today.

About ventureLAB

ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 5,000 jobs and raise more than $350 million in investment capital. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, for global markets. 

ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Our organization is led by seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders with decades of industry experience in building IP-rich start-ups, scale-ups, and global multinationals to help you scale your business. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. We enable technology startups to accelerate the commercialization of transformational products on a global scale.

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