You can’t do everything yourself. Yet, the moment you start adding people you have–by definition–people problems. And dealing with people problems keeps you, the entrepreneur/founder, away from the things you are good at–finding new markets and implementing new ideas.
As a result, your company suffers. It loses market share or stops growing because you are forced to spend too much of your time looking inside your company, instead of searching outside for new markets.
Perhaps even worse, you are dealing with personel problems at exactly the same time that the problems of managing growth are coming at you faster than you ever dreamed of.
As a result of all this, you are spending too little time doing what you should be doing, determining how to increase sales and profits.
Obviously, the solution is to create layers of management that free you to think bigger thoughts than who should go on vacation when. But it is not that easy. Even when an entrepreneur is willing to delegate, and actually tries to, there are potential:
1. Communication problems. What you say and what your managers hear are not always the same.
2. Style problems. No two managers are the same. And no manager is exactly the same as the boss.
3. Employee resentment problems (I). When you bring in a new leader, the first reaction from the orchestra is likely to be “why wasn’t I chosen to lead the band?”
4. Employee resentment problems (II). If you join Apple today, you don’t expect to waltz into the CEO’s office any time you choose. But at small companies, it is different. Employees expect that kind of access. That is especially true of an employee who was there when the company was formed. He is not going to like it when he finds the door to the boss’ office is suddenly closed and he is told to see someone else–someone with a less impressive title than CEO.
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Paul B. Brown is the co-author of Just Start published by Harvard Business Review Press.