Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FOUNDERs are LEADERS, but are they CEOs?

Also published on LinkedIn and our Group

Pick Your Best Role to Lead the World
We work with Founders at many stages of start-up and expansion, and though the chief Founders are excellent Leaders, their best role may not be as the coveted CEO to ensure the success of their endeavors. 

First, let's define a Leader with an acronym (go ahead, substitute your own definitions for each letter):

  • Light up the vision, the benefits and the way.

  • Educate the team on vision, expectations, structure and policy, listening and learning from each of them.

  • Appreciate all those who excel and help from without.

  • Delegate to the best available, qualified people.

  • Enthuse your team with energy and resources.

  • Release control over the process for delegates, looking only for well-researched questions and suggestions, progress reports and final results.  See the just-published article on delegation by Mary Jane Nirdlinger. 

Other LinkedIn articles expand our definitions, but we see Delegate and Release as major keys in profitable Leadership and successful launches or expansions.   

Founders need to decide where they can best Lead, fit and excel, now or over the life of their companies:

  • CEO - executes what the Chairman and the Board have defined, generally with the CEO’s participation and input, and the Board may be only Founders at the start.  Though this is the most esteemed title in a company, it may not be Founders most effective roles

  • Chairman of the Board, public or private - visionary, policymaker, organizer, cheerleader, connector and often a key representative.

  • President - reporting to the CEO, or if none, the Board - deals with daily issues and tasks, sometimes a more comfortable role for those newly transitioning from being employed for many years.

  • CTO - often the best role for an engineer, scientist or inventor; an IT professional usually prefers the title CIO.

  • COO - the best methods to maximize production can make or break a company, so this may the best role.

  • CFO - setting up and maintaining tight financial systems is another key to the success of a company, and perhaps the Founder's best role.

  • CMO/CSO - many if not most Founders are excellent Sales people, so this may be the most comfortable role, though many prefer to delegate the Marketing.

  • CLO - the legal and securities challenges of especially a public company may be the best role for a lawyer/Founder.

  • CCO - Chief Capital Officer - prepares for presentation to, then processes funders, serving as a bit of the CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, CLO, CMO and CSO until fully funded.  
A team of Founder, CCO and one other CxO is an excellent way to start a company on the fast track.

  • Advisor – as companies progress, and after launching multiple companies, Founders may find that equity-based Advisory Team participation or management may be the most comfortable and time-beneficial, reducing both fiduciary and day-to-day responsibilities, yet maintaining lucrative yields from earlier start-up duties.  

Appreciate your Following and Comments – will respond and much more to come.