When a company is growing rapidly, you will likely need to evolve your leadership team.
It is sometimes impossible for key leaders from an early stage to maintain those leadership roles as the company grows. As a startup or growth company CEO, you need to constantly assess the capabilities and skill sets that y0u need in the company as you reach different stages in your growth a maturity of your company. This includes being open minded to the idea that you, as the CEO, might not be the person that will take the company to the next level.
For example, some founding teams may have the essential capabilities to get a company from zero to one, as Peter Thiel describes in his critically acclaimed book on startup life. However, this same leadership team may not have the ‘right stuff’ to take the company from initial success in single product, single market segment company, to a multi-product/market segment company operating as a global enterprise.
In this discussion with Larry Kesslin, we discuss some of the challenges in the process of evolving your management and leadership team as you navigate through rapid growth. I am a proponent of promoting from within, but during rapid growth, the requisite skillset for some positions may necessitate that you look outside the company for the right person for the job.
Startups are a team sport. It’s all about the people. You always want to promote from within and have everyone rise with the company if possible. You have someone who is a smart sales manager or director of sales. If they’re achievement oriented, they want to be a VP of sales. You want to support their career goals and aspirations.
Sometimes, you’re growing so fast that the person’s ability to get to the level that you need, in the time frame, is impossible. Then you have to hire from outside. It’s dynamic. You mentioned putting the management team in place. In Entropic, we went from pre-product and pre-revenue to very successful first product, some acquisitions and additional products and market segments. We took the company public. We were on rev 2.5 of the management team at the time that we ended up selling Entropic to Max Linear.
This is Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion, with The Real Deal…What Matters.