As many of the people reading my blog are involved in small businesses and often founders, I thought I’d draw your attention to the topic of ‘Founderitis’ – a serious ‘illness’ associated with certain symptoms which even those not in small businesses will recognise. Some of the symptoms are the inability to delegate, anger when left out of a decision, ignoring input from subject matter experts. Recognise them in you or a colleague?
As an article in the Wall Street Journal points out, “When founderitis strikes, the founder’s hard-charging, reactive demeanor, which was crucial to the startup’s initial success, becomes a hindrance to the company’s maturation.” Certain skills are crucial in a start-up but do need to evolve over time. It’s about leadership.
Do read the fuller article, or here are a few summarised points of what to do if you think you have the lurgy. Firstly, recognise you have it. Secondly, look at how your role needs to evolve in the new business – and see this as a sign of success, not failure in your company’s growth. Thirdly, ensure yours and other employees’ roles focus rather than being generalist. The next steps are about aligning your strengths and weaknesses with your company’s mission (check you know and can articulate what that is), building bridges with anyone that might have been impacted by your illness and monitoring it to prevent this in future.
It’s a good thing every now and then to stand back, take stock of where you have got to and plan the next steps forward to enable business growth.