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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Involved vs. The Committed

So now you have started your company, (Well done John and April) are you involved or committed ?, Friday night when I was lecturing the guys over at Strathclyde on the first 100 days of office in a start up, I mentioned the Pig, the chicken and breakfast story, there were some quizzical looks, so I explained...A chicken is involved, it lays a few eggs and that's it's part done for the breakfast..the pig...well you can see where this story is going...and there is that distinction in the commitment of founders. I believe with conviction if you are a chicken, then your own company will not succeed, you need to have the conviction of a pig, and be able to stand in front of the mirror when all is going down around you and say I have given it my best shot. The founder will understand quickly that he has more than just a job, he has dependants, there are folk who have joined his company because of him /her and the vision they painted, they rely on the paycheck every month and have planned there life's around the company. I have heard the words from a founder once, well they new the risks ? yes they did but you convinced them or you managers convinced them that it was worth the risk.

So how do you measure your commitment well here's the litmus test for how I try to distinguish between the two: If your startup dies next week, what will be the actual impact on a given individual?

The point here is that just because someone quits their day job, just because they write a relatively large check, just because they take the founder title none of these necessarily means that they are committed. Its possible that in all of these cases, the actual impact on the individual is relatively minor. They find another day job or they mourn the loss of their investment for a week or a month. What I consider to be real co-founders are those that are financially and emotionally committed to the startup. For the founders to be committed, if the startup dies tomorrow, it will forever change their life. They can't just wake up the next day and have it be life as usual (yes, they'll recover but the failure will have a lasting impact).

Well that's the chicken and pig story...have a think about it....

I saw this 3 min clip by Richard St John he was talking about Why do people succeed? it is very interesting and honest...have a look if you have the time....




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