When I coach entrepreneurs, a part of the conversations centers around the organizations they build. Most of them have never learned that founders don’t need to do everything themselves. As a founder and CEO, you really have only three jobs:
- Maintaining the product vision,
- Building a great team that can execute,
- Manage your stakeholders.
As we often come into entrepreneurial life as ‘self-starters’, by definition, most of us err on the side of continuing to do too much ourselves.
Doing too much may come in different shapes and forms:
- Some founders take on too many roles, often in perceived emergencies, maybe because someone important has left.
- Some folks exercise a crazy level of control because they don’t trust their team to function well without them.
- Some entrepreneurs have a hidden feeling that they must work hard to deserve the spoils. The startup grind etc.
The reality is: running and growing a business is hard, and you need to execute the three core jobs well. You need to be able to do this for decades, not weeks. Constantly pushing yourself to the limit actually harms the most valuable asset of the company: The founder.
The picture below was taken during one of the hikes in Mallorca. I found it a great symbol of the narrow pathway that leads to success, often garnished with massive boulders in the way.