I sometimes get the sense that in the vision of a business I am developing (on my own currently) I am the least important component. I will need the technical and business counterparts as cofounders. How can I ensure that my idea is seen through in its as pure form as possible (obviously with the required pivots along the way) and without getting side tracked into lower hanging fruits that we will encounter along the way? I know the value of this and I can sell it like no one else, but it won't only be a matter of maintaining the culture but the overall direction.
Can this be done without being the CEO?
Read the book "The Four Obsessions of a CEO" and "The Five Dysfunctions of Teams"
In my experience you need the CEO to drive the vision of the company and to make sure that the culture of the company is based on the core values and beliefs. As part of that process ideally you select co-founders that buy-in and share that vision while adding skills/capabilities that you don't posses as CEO.
Approach it like dating. You're not going to get in a long term relationship with just any person so, unfortunately, you're going to have to meet, greet, and "date" a number of potential candidates before you decide to share a bank account or have them help raise your baby.
The short answer is yes. If you don't feel that the other cofounders will support your vision, don't bring them in. You should realize that buying into your vision doesn't last forever. If things change, so should the vision.
If you were in Dallas I would say, lets go have a beer together. I want to be the technical and driving force in my company, but playing CEO and spokesperson for the is not something I crave. I have people that want to work with me, but they don't share my vision and I am not ready to commit ownership to them without that, and while I have some cash to pay them, I don't have the cash to pay what they want without including equity.
My answer to your question is, I hope so. I look forward to seeing other answers you get.
The CEO's role is to set the vision - you are right that you will need others to help you implement - there are people that are great at supporting and implementing who know they are not great at setting the vision. I'd vote for you remaining the CEO and bring in implementors that are excited about your vision.
Why would you think of yoursself as the least important component? Its your IDEA isnt it? You bring in the passion and the vision.... The technical aspects are a necessity but not as critical as the Idea itself while business to get in the traction and thereby the revennue is extremely important.
There have been very nnoteworthy successes where the founders have taken the companny to a certain level and brought in a professioonal CEO to take it to the next level. Here, its the culture of the Company and its target segment that will play an imporant role.
A professional CEO may have to navigate through headwinds and keep the revenue flowing but with a proper understanding of the goals and timelines I dont think there willbe a CEO who will completely change the offering. There are plenty of ways the management team can work together to ensure no nasty things happen.
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