We just finished our eighth Founder’s Mentality 100 (FM100) meeting of 2014, this time in Jakarta. One of our most important discussions there focused on the question of “What’s happened to our heroes?”—and that led to an exploration of what one founder called “the economics of empowerment.” Let me explain.
One of the things founders talk a lot about is how difficult it is to balance “heroes” and “systems.” Most companies during the start-up phase are perpetually short on talent. Heroes step into the breach, doing amazing things they really have no business doing, and their exploits become the foundational stories of the company. Eventually, however, even these overachievers get stretched too thin, leading to an urgent need to “professionalize” the company. Leadership seeks to broaden the team, bring in systems to support the team and move the company to the next stage. […]