Co-Founders: How to avoid them becoming Co-Flounders

Co-founder conflict contributes to 65% of all start-up failures

Co-founders bring different skills, expertise and financial resources to the business, to get the company off the ground.

Stresses of the entrepreneurial world and disagreements over business decisions, styles of doing business or different values can quickly bring conflict, anger, and resentment into your business relationship.

When things get out of hand, the company is likely to fail A However when business succeeds one or both of you may want to sell!!

Different values, visions or styles, and different underlying motivations can become problematic if they’re ignored.

Those differences, however small, can create a lot of tension. The outcome of these disagreements will invariably lead to decreased business productivity, growth, and progress and further conflict, which can easily become a vicious cycle.

From the start it’s essential to devise a psychological and practical contract to clarify:

  • WHY the business exists and the values it will abide by
  • HOW it intends to carry out delivering the outcomes
  • WHAT practices it will follow

The agreed outcomes need to be evaluated regularly. The frequency of the evaluations and measurement tools need to be agreed at the start to build the successful business they desire.

Effective leadership and communication coaching need to take place on a regular basis to ensure that there is active listening and communication aligning vision, values and goals.

Listening to each other is hugely important to appreciate that each other’s observations, thoughts and beliefs may be different and it’s important not to think that different is wrong, potentially leading to accusatory dialogue and conflict.

This process helps to nip in the bud any potential conflicts.

Fix problems before they happen

Staying focused on the purpose and outcomes you are aiming for and evaluating these on a regular basis make it easier to work in harmony and create your business together.

Frequent evaluation helps you realise when there are issues and to discuss them before they get out of hand, is possibly the most important thing co-founders can do to avoid harmful conflict.

Disagreements over company spending, hiring practices, marketing tactics, answering to investors and other complicated situations can all breed conflict.

All these areas must be outlined from the start. Having proper procedures in place including early dispute resolution when disagreements occur help to minimise any potential conflict before disaster results with far-ranging consequences for the company.

How can the Executive Coach and the Mediator help?

Working with an executive coach and a mediator can help you to proactively approach differences and navigate the murky waters without turning against each other and destroying your start-up.

An executive coach will help you make invisible issues visible to each other and a mediator will help you diffuse potential disputes before they escalate.

You and your co-founder are not always going to see eye to eye and positive disagreement is necessary to be creative and forward focused, but it requires a cool-headed approach and understanding to handle the various business hurdles and people challenges along the way.

Working with an executive coach and mediator will ensure you and your co-founder have the greatest opportunity to achieve the potential success of your start-up.

Annette Kurer has over 25 years as a leader managing multimillion pound businesses and as a leadership consultant and executive coach supporting leaders and business owners to align business and people strategies. Please contact Annette here

Roger Levitt has over 33 years’ experience as a property solicitor and 9 years as a business and property mediator and he is passionate that mediation provides a fresh approach, with a 75% success rate. To find out more about my mediation services please contact ROGER LEVITT MEDIATION.