The balance between an all-star and a disaster can often be determined by one thing. Culture. Do they fit it, do they define it, do they believe in and do they practice it. This as you know is incredibly important in the corporate world but can be disastrous to a startup if not identified early. Let’s split the conversation in two parts, the convergence of startups and corporate.
In the startup world, think about the founding partner whose ambition is tied more to their own success and well being than that of the team, common sense and the good of the business. In place of making decisions best for the company, theirs are rooted in ones that are generally short term. Ones that they see benefit their standing, possibly even their next startup rather than the one you are working on together. Often times, this person might even be more interested to work directly with a venture capitalist, investor or strategic partner rather than you, a co-founder. This person is a disaster.
In the corporate world, this person can take down and entire team and we call these “destructive hero’s”. These are the poisonous employees who succeed short term, many times by cutting corners and usually share the following characteristics. They are un-coachable, inexperienced, curt and believe you serve their existence. Worst yet, they succeed with a fierce selfish determination in the short term and rally the team in a negative way over the long.
The best way to confront both situations is to empower a strong team of ethical leaders from within your organization who can help set the right path. If you find yourself as a co-founder in this situation, this can be tricky and is why I advise all owners to carefully protect each other’s interest in the operating agreement as co-founders.
In business and in the startup world it is impossible to do one thing. Manage down to crazy.