Determining Founders’ Roles
A company that developed a line of capital equipment found that sales were agonizingly slow to come. Both of the founders were outstanding engineers and engineering managers. One of them was the president of the company, running operations.
The president did not have time to both sell product and run operations.
Management sought assistance as what to do. Following the advice they received, they brought in talent to run operations temporarily and to work with the president on other matters.
The president went into the field and sold product, which he did very successfully. After the company gained momentum, the president resumed his role as president.
A founding team can benefit from timely assistance in thinking through the need for a change of roles, even if temporary. This is a commonly faced critical issue that is seldom addressed appropriately because it is difficult for founders to self-assess their strengths, the effectiveness of the roles they play, and whether there may be other, better alternatives. Objectivity from a third-party advisor helps founders to consider other alternatives and gain a fresh perspective.