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If the Shoe Fits: Don’t be a Fool

by Miki Saxon

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mAre you familiar with the old saying “a fool and his money are soon parted?”

So are a fool and his startup.

In the situation I’m talking about both could happen—will happen unless the fools with the money dump the fool from his startup.

The founder fool has great talents, but his best is wooing and managing money fools, i.e., investors.

He’s also good at wooing people to join his fledgling company, but even better at being the author of their destruction.

He is a master of disparagement—eye rolls, winks, smirks and, of course, sarcasm.

This founder fool’s arrogance is based on his ability to manage upwards, but mostly on fear; fear that someone who works for him may somehow, somewhere, become more successful than he.

That arrogance, combined with his unfettered belief that anybody who works for a living, including in his own company, is a lesser person creates an environment that destroys people by damaging their self-respect.

Not only does he take out the (in his mind) competition, he also improves retention, since those he undercuts are less likely to leave.

As Jeff Haden says, Self-respect is a lot like trust. Once lost, it’s almost impossible to regain.

Almost. It can be regained, but doing so takes careful rebuilding and support by a manager skilled at seeing diamonds where others see a lump of coal.

And that means either the investor fools rise up to oust the tyrant or the people find the courage to walk away.

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Flickr image credit: HikingArtist

One Response to “If the Shoe Fits: Don’t be a Fool”
  1. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] the past we’ve looked at fools and money, fools and management and Shakespeare’s idea that one should never underestimate someone “wise […]

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