The skills and temperament of a founder, an entrepreneur, often DO NOT translate to what it takes to actually run the company that they founded. With exceptions, temperaments of entrepreneurs and founders are independent, visionary, big picture, free-wheeling, strategic. While they have many hoops to jump through, those hoops differ significantly from those they encounter when they begin to run the business and the people that are their business. In fact what they most loved doing they often don’t get to do as much of as their business grows and they have to meet demands of many stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, partners. The day to day with its odds and endlesses often are experienced as confining, petty, boring. There are now rules, procedures and policies to cover the day to day and govern behaviors. Though unrealistic, it’s often expected that employees be grateful, resourceful to solve their own problems and dedicated to the business with the same intensity of the owner/founder/entrepreneur. This, they find, is not something that they can always expect; unless they have some equity in the company, work is just ‘a job’ to employees. Entrepreneurs (not all but it’s not uncommon either) are not always terrific with interpersonal effectiveness though they can turn it on for sprints when they are pitching a backer or a prospective customer. Expressed or not, the tape running in their head as employees come to them with concerns, needs, complaints often sounds like this: “I founded this place…it’s my investment and risk..can’t you just do your job?!? ” So it’s no surprise to read of Kalanick losing his grip in an interaction with an employee as in this recent video.
Enter the creation of the job of head of Operations. Hopefully they will base selection on more than ‘pedigree’ and select someone with the temperament that is compatible with the demands of the role and suited to meet the organization needs. We’ll see. Interesting case.