How most founders kill their businesses in 10 easy steps.

Over 10 years of recruiting has allowed me to peer into the inner workings of 100's of companies and given me a perspective most people will never experience.   During my intake process for a new client I embed myself in the company. I find out why people like working there and seek out every closeted skeleton that could bite our recruiting efforts in the a$$.    During this time I have witnessed the very best ways to manage a business and the worst.  Most times there is only one person to blame or praise for this and it's the founder or CEO.  

here is how most founders end up killing their company

Several years ago while working for a casual gaming company in Europe I was asked to recruit senior level management for the studio, this included senior Project Managers all the way to Vice-Presidents.   It was a great company and still is to this day but the same couldn't be said for one of their competitors.   One morning I opened my email to find I'd had a VP from this competitor apply to one of my jobs, the guy had a brilliant background and I was stoked. Doing what I do I called this VP up and asked why he was looking for a change, this is the story I was told.  

When he first joined the company business was strong, the founder had a solid vision and times were good, but as competition increased and the business landscape shifted it got harder.  This founder had done his best to surround himself with incredibly intelligent people but when things got tough for the business he did what so many other founders do.   He stopped trusting his people to take care of the business and was of the opinion that he was the only one that knew what do to, he was the founder, the visionary....god.  Unfortunately I see this behaviour all the time and it goes a little something like this.


  1. Founder creates successful new business.
  2. It's smooth sailing for a while. 
  3. Founder hires smart people and mostly lets them run the business.
  4. Competition or changes in the market create challenges for the business. 
  5. Founder, freaks out and starts tightening the reigns on his managers. 
  6. Founder now oversees every aspect of the business and decisions cannot be made without his approval. 
  7. Managers, have been stripped of power, they now sit in meetings waiting for instructions.
  8. Managers stop thinking for themselves and become robots.  The good ones can't stand this and quit. 
  9. This quitting freaks out the founder so his grip tightens and micromanaging becomes worse. Employee confidence is shaken, more people leave the "sinking ship".
  10.  It becomes impossible to attract new talent and the BUSINESS EVENTUALLY DIES.

If you've ever started a company you know how hard it is to relinquish control of your baby.  To be truly successful though, you need to rely on other people to help you.   Even after Steve Jobs passed away Apple has continued to be successful and I doubt any of us here are as talented as that man was.  Your business can do without you and it can certainly do without your micromanaging.  To quote a currently popular children's movie...... Let it go, Let it go, let your managers run the show, let it go let it go you're not the almighty know it all.......