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I came across this very insightful article a few weeks ago. It is based on an interview with Khalid Halim, coach to startups and startup CEOs, and in it, he talks about his learning in dealing with founders of startups.
Humans grow biologically and linearly, companies grow exponentially. A company, which is a collection of biological systems called humans, can grow exponentially.
Humans also do something that’s exponential; they tell stories. This is what is referred to as, vision. Founders have a knack of telling good stories and getting people excited around their idea/venture. They get teams to of people at that scale to work through adversity.
There are 2 truths associated with this law;
1) Your startup will outpace most of its executives if it starts to grow.
“… On its way to scale, a company will turn its team over three times. That means that the initial team will depart, be replaced by another team, and then replaced by yet another team again.” Even incredibly talented people at fast growing companies fall behind.
Myelination: The more myelinated something is, the faster it fires.
What does this mean for the Startup Executive?
Option 1: Fire the executive.
Option 2: Hire above the executive.
How to manage? Have a proactive conversation about a tour of duty. “Let’s talk about your last day first.” This;
– Sets expectations. Selfish Altruism.
– Provides career definition.
– Establishes trust.
2) The founder is biological too, but this law doesn’t apply.
Applied to the founder, exponential thought is company vision.
Most executives think about execution.
Founders have declarative authority.
This capacity for visions is usually akin to founders, not hired CEOs.
Founders tap into this via the outside world. It’s important to disconnect to recharge.