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If the Shoe Fits: Speed Trap

by Miki Saxon

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

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mTo many in the startup world speed is a holy grail—speed to market, speed to hiring and firing, speed to pivoting and speed to growth.

If you are one of them consider Frazier & Deeter.

It’s grown 25 percent a year for seven consecutive years to more than 250 employees in 2010 and named one of the best US firms to work for by Accounting Magazine.

…the firm is poised to go national but the guy who founded and ran the firm for eight years is no longer leading the charge. Was that his choice? It turns out it was not. David Deeter, the founder, got bounced down the organization chart.

While that may be the kind of growth investors salivate over, it often requires a “bet the company” mentality and matching action that’s not always appreciated by others.

Employees get scared, but you, the entrepreneur, keep their heads in the clouds and you keep thinking, boy, isn’t this great? Why? Because you are having the time of your life.

And therein lies the greatest danger for entrepreneurs who wants to stay at the helm.

Entrepreneurs start with a vision and do a pretty good job communicating it to the original team or they wouldn’t have bought in.

As time goes by and the organization grows founders get “busy” and start counting on those under them to communicate their vision to the new hires.

Sometimes the vision changes and the changes aren’t communicated, so the vision shared is no longer the current vision or, worst of all, the driving force mutates into one of growing just because you can.

The article author says,

Show them you can be both an entrepreneur and a chief executive. How? Let the employees see that you put the company’s interests ahead of your ego and your own personal interests. Otherwise, the real talent will leave — or boot you out…

but you have only to look at the corporate merger and acquisition debacles of the last few decades to know that too many corporations, both public and private, are driven by CEO ego and personal interest.

The best advice is to not only stay close to your people, but also to your mirror and remember you are not a god.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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