Start-up Considerations

Role Dilemmas

Noam Wasserman’s book, The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup discusses dilemmas of entrepreneurship. Last week’s blog post discussed building the best team possible for the success of your company.  This week’s discussion will cover how role dilemmas must be considered.  Wasserman (2012) discusses what happens at the beginning of a start up with multiple founders. If there are multiple founders, there can be some conflict over what founder will obtain which role. Often more than one founder will desire to be CEO. Wasserman (2012) discusses the need to make roles expressly clear so that there are less issues in the future over major decisions for the company. Even at the risk of conflict, founders should make clear decisions early on about who has decision making power (Wasserman, 2012).

How Many Founders Should be on the Board of Directors?

In discussing role dilemmas Wasserman (2012) also discusses the issues of having more than one founder on The Board of Directors. Through his research of many companies, Wasserman (2012) notes that having more than one founder on the Board can cause decision making issues. Having only one founder on the Board of Directors could be beneficial versus having multiple founders on the Board. This decision alone could cause some disagreement within the founding group. However, most likely the CEO will be the selected Board Member and if roles have already been expressly made clear, there will be understanding in this area. Making it a priority to discuss and come to clear terms on issues that may cause conflict will be beneficial to lesson conflict and misunderstandings in the long run.

More Considerations

Some other considerations include the size of the board, whether or not to have outside directors, diversity to cover areas of expertise, and respect among board members. These considerations and more are covered in the Forbes article found at the following link:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2015/06/30/mistakes-to-avoid-with-a-startup-board-of-directors/

Skills That You Can Teach and Skills That You Can’t

Eric Herrenkohl, in his book, How to Hire A-Players: Finding the Top People for Your Team- Even If You Don’t Have a Recruiting Department, discusses the need to find and hire the right people with the skills that your company needs.  Employees that have the correct skills are necessary for success.

Herrenkohl (2010) lists skills that can be taught and skills that can’t be taught. Skills that can be taught include “…technical knowledge, product knowledge, understanding of a particular client.” Skills that cannot be taught include “…motivation, leadership, commitment, the ability to sell, and the desire to achieve.” (Herrenkohl, p. 99, 2010)

Herrenkohl says, “There are skills you can teach and skills you can’t. Find a large pool of people who already have the fundamental skills you want, interview a lot of them, and hire the best of them. This is a simple formula for creating a team of A-players. (Herrenkohl, p. 110, 2010)

Do you want to have “A-players”? Consider taking Herrenkohl’s advice.

Recognizing and Appreciating the Less Obvious People

While looking for your prospective employees Herrenkohl (2010) lists some people that businesses may not initially think about. Some of those people include women such as those who are entering the workforce again after having a family, those who are relocating with their spouse, and single mothers. The point of looking in areas not thought about before, is finding unexpected talent in unexpected places.  Taking the time to look into unexpected places may help businesses to find the perfect employees.  Business owners who look outside of the box may find the best treasures! Happy treasure hunting!

References

Herrenkohl, Eric. How to Hire A-Players: Finding the Top People for Your Team- Even If You Don’t Have a Recruiting Department. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Wasserman, N. (2012). The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Zwilling, Martin. “Mistakes To Avoid With A Startup Board Of Directors.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 June 2015, www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2015/06/30/mistakes-to-avoid-with-a-startup-board-of-directors/.

6 thoughts on “Start-up Considerations”

  1. “There are skills you can teach and skills you can’t. Find a large pool of people who already have the fundamental skills you want, interview a lot of them, and hire the best of them” Very well stated by Herrenkohl. This statement reminds me of one of my latest hires. The outgoing person in that position was great, in fact she was promoted, thus opening the opportunity to hire another promising individual. I interviewed one person who had all the skills I needed but wasn’t a perfect rockstar. I could do okay with her so I had decided to hire her unless someone better walk in the door. Thirty minutes later in walks someone better, but she still wasn’t perfect. However what I did see was a lot of promise from both of them and if I hired BOTH of them, I might just create a very dynamic team who could complement each other well. I didn’t really have the funds that I needed to pull this off, but I could not pass up on the opportunity. And the dynamic team was born…. And still going strong.

    1. Thank you for your comment to my blog post. Obviously, you made the correct decision by doing what you knew needed to be done despite reasons why you perhaps should not do it. You did not feel you had the funding, but that dynamic team you built has probably already blessed you far more than what you did not have. Thank you for sharing. We should follow your lead!

  2. I believe you made an important point when it comes to role dilemmas and choosing who will be apart of the Board of Directors. You stated that”Making it a priority to discuss and come to clear terms on issues that may cause conflict will be beneficial to lesson conflict and misunderstandings in the long run”. What I think is one of the more common themes in our readings within the past weeks, is to plan, communicate, and stick to it. Having an understanding of expectations, before bigger issues arise, is very important to the success of the founders.

    1. Thank you for your response to my blog post. I do believe that being truthful and transparent up front is important. Knowing where everyone stands right from the beginning could be helpful in negating conflict.

  3. “Taking the time to look into unexpected places may help businesses to find the perfect employees.” I could not agree more. When I left my and my ex-husband’s business, I went to work for the company I work for now. At my initial interview, I made it known I wanted to work my way up to a higher position–a position in management. The area manager did not take me seriously because I had run a business for 8 years prior to interviewing with her. I interviewed with her again 6 months later for a manager position and she chose someone else. I applied for the same position with another area manager and landed my current position as an Employment Program Manager. My store is doing very well. We have surpassed all of the targets set forth for us. My point is, and it goes back to what you said, my first area manager overlooked me because she did not expect me to do well.

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