Founders aren’t scalable

Founders aren’t scalable. You can grow an organization only so far with a founder and her emotion, personality and drive.

So you shouldn’t build an organization around them. They’re great in the beginning. They’re the ultimate generalists, as a good founder will do anything to get the job done. But it won’t last. It can’t last. Even if a founder stays a lifetime, eventually that life will end.

When you start an organization, people determined to get the job done and who will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to get the job done is imperative. But to last, an organization needs to allow for specialists to establish and improve process. To attract specialists, most often there needs to be life outside of the organization’s mission.

That doesn’t often work well with a founder’s attitude. There are good reasons to work with a startup business early with the founding team — and it takes different qualities to do it. Having several founders is a powerful way to launch, but over time, an organization may likely never be truly sustainable until the founders have done their work and moved on.

One thought on “Founders aren’t scalable”

  1. I would say that most founders are not scalable, but some are. An truly knowledgeable/experienced founder understands the need to hire the right people so that the business is sustainable. They will hire for culture and for skills. They will hire to augment the skills that they have and they will also hire people who can ultimately take their place. I know, I have participated in ventures that have done this and were able to nearly seamlessly move from a few people to several hundred in less than 4 years. And move from small revenue to several hundred million in revenue in the same time frame. Perhaps we were lucky, but I do not think that we were all that unique.

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