From Technical Leader to People Leader (Part 1): The Founder Problem
“It’s a huge problem. We don’t know how to solve it, so we need your help. Oh, and can you reduce your fee?”
How many data points makes a trend?
I’ve had this conversation three times this week, and many times more in the past couple of years. Small-ish, fast-growing, well-funded but not yet profitable companies with serious issues – in many cases stemming from having a founder in the most senior level leadership role.
“Founders” are an increasing force in economic growth – creative and technical geniuses and entrepreneurial forces of nature with big ideas and bigger visions.
But often they just aren’t the best person to lead teams and develop people, both of which are critical to sustainable enterprise growth.
Good leadership requires an investment
Bootstrapping is necessary in the early days of a venture, but not the expense of strong leadership. Founders – take a look in the mirror and assess whether people leadership is really in your skill set. Build a COO into the business plan, or support yourself with an executive coach.
Because if you wait until your best talent has left, it might be too late.
And the professionals who can help you aren’t going to reduce their fees.