Founders need to consider the evolution of a team, including themselves as the business transitions through various stages.
Teams that found a business, which are driven by the excitement and ambiguity of a start-up, may not be the best people to take a business through various growth phases, including a potential exit. Early teams have a high degree of flexibility, willing to roll up sleeves, they are adaptable and have a broad range of skills that ensure gaps are filled, albeit in many cases imperfectly. This is perfectly normal. Acceptable. In fact, this is expected. These teams are generally decisive, fearless, and understand that the greatest mistake they can make is not doing anything at all. As a company grows and teams become more considerable, roles more defined, and the cost of mistakes increases a different type of team is best suited. A team that is tailored to more definition, systemisation, process, and a focus on an analysis being a driver of more significant results. On the contrary, earlier teams do not have as much capital or time to work with. They must work with imperfect information, less definition, and higher ambiguity. These classic environmental facets, as well as people's preferences, may cause clashes with a team that might like to plan more detail into the execution, which for founding teams may appear to be slowing the company down. Non-founding teams will see that a stitch in time saves nine, and therefore careful planning, better coordination of resources, sharper execution, and much more measurements to team performance are critical to success. The difficulty for the Founder(s) is the need to make decisions on team members at various stages to satisfy what the company needs. This is difficult and prone to error.
About the Author
Adam Ryan is a Professor of Practice (Adjunct Professor) at Monash University and is a principal at Watkins Bay. He has over twenty years of start-up experience in Australia and the USA. An expert in company structuring for innovation, high growth strategy and capital for early to growth stage businesses.
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