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Ryan Caldbeck @ryan_caldbeck
, 16 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1/ I have said before I think persistence (or substitute synonym here) is the most important characteristic for a successful founder. I’ve also said I think the journey is soul crushingly hard.
2/ What I think often I’ve missed in evaluating CEOs in the past (as an investor myself) is transition from being a successful founder to successful CEO. They are two different brains. Both are critical - but each have IMO a set of required traits that can be in conflict.
3/ Specifically the CEOs need to delegate. If the CEO brain doesn’t delegate that person will burn out with any reasonable co. growth. More people, more customers, more complex product, more business lines. CEO will burn out if they cant delegate.
4/ BUT here is the kicker. That persistence trait mentioned above? That plays mind games on the CEO when it is time to delegate. I think the Founder’s persistence tries to counteract the CEO’s desire to delegate.
5/ Meaning there are times when the CEO should step back and let go, let someone else run with a project. But the Founder brain says “I’m going to roll up my sleeves and run through walls to get this done” …..and they don’t let go.
6/ Why? Because founder brain knows that today will be better if they don’t let go. That is probably right, they will win today if they don’t let go.

But tomorrow is much much worse.
7/ “Forget it, I’ll just do it.”

“Yeah, XXXX won’t be able to get that negotiation done. I’ll just take it over.”

“We need to win this customer. I’ll just lead it.”

“The product team isn’t moving quickly enough. I’ll step in.”
8/ All are quotes I’ve used. And in each case I justified it to myself by saying I’m just persistent as heck. I can just suck it up and do it.

But that behavior results in several counter-productive things.
9/ First, it robs team members of the chance to grow and learn. That’s such a hard balancing act when it is a critical product launch, big sale, etc. The Founder brain wants to run through that wall and get it done.
10/ But the great CEO knows if the team doesn’t develop, the company won't grow. And the great CEO knows that they aren’t always the best/most effective/most efficient person for the job (even though the founder’s brain may have been at one point)
11/ Second, making yourself dispensable - hiring a team to do a job that you were doing - is a skill that must be developed and requires some short-term inefficiency which is painful. If founder never develops that muscle the CEO won’t be able to use it. Important skill.
12/ Replacing yourself is a huge test of the ego. It’s hard. The person won’t be better than you on day one, but if CEO can’t find someone that will ultimately be a stronger and more focused executor, they haven’t exercised the make-myself-dispensable-muscle.
13/ Third, it burns the CEO out. That persistence gene of the Founder will crush the CEO. The CEO that can’t delegate has a very short half life as a CEO.
14/ Either the CEO burns out or it is demoralizing to the team to not be trusted & empowered. Regardless, the CEO won’t last.
15/ I’ve seen a lot of CEOs that had an amazing Founder brain, but didn’t develop their CEO brain. Most common reason is inability to delegate to an empowered and effective team.
16/ The trick is channeling that persistence into finding a way to balance the founder brain w/ the CEO brain. Super hard, but I’ve found that just the recognition of the framework helps to define the problem. The concept of founder brain v. CEO brain has helped me.
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