Reflection from The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noah Wasserman
Being the founder of a company is not easy. Being a co-founder of a company is harder. One would think that working with a partner would make things easier. In addition to the division of the work, you also must decide who gets which title. Quite simply put, who is the CEO?
Sometimes deciding who does what comes naturally. You will have two founders that have totally different skill sets. You may have a founder that is a natural born leader with the charisma, confidence and passion for your company. They may be accepted as the CEO. When you have multiple founders that do not name a CEO, they may adapt to an egalitarian approach. They will work together as a team and make decisions together. Some founders end up working together as joint chief executives. This tends to work if they use complimentary skills to get the job done. Some of the disadvantages to the egalitarian approach are lack of accountability and time-consuming decision making. Using the hierarchical approach can speed up the decision-making process and offer clear accountability.
To avoid the conflicts associated when assigning the title, the choice could and should be made in the initial planning for the company. Do this well before the ball is rolling. Choosing the right leader for the company is the key to establishing confidence in your brand and company.
Wasserman, Noam. The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2012.