Role Dilemmas ENT 600

Reflection from The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noah Wasserman

Week 5

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.

4 thoughts on “Role Dilemmas ENT 600

  1. Tina,
    I love your statement about being a co-founder is so much harder. I agree!!! I feel like and even some of the examples they gave, that you would be happy with how things are, but once big decisions need to be made, money is divided, and roles established, people will think they deserve more because what they bring to the table requires more time or even technique. This can all become so sticky. I feel this all needs to be in place well ahead of time. While as we saw, this still may not matter, but it can certainly help. Great review.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that deciding roles and business approach should be ironed out early on in the startup. That way further decision making is easier and faster. I plan to use both approaches for different stages of my business. I plan to use the egalitarian approach now while I am working on my degree and my business is still in the planning phase. O plan on utilizing the hierarchical style once the business gets off the ground and we have multiple employees. Thanks for the great blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bri,
      I think that as a business grows it is wise to change styles. I have never thought of my business as a power struggle with my cofounder who happens to be my husband. I can see where the struggle would create problems with your business culture.


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