Co-Founder Fights – 5 Tips for Dealing With it Well

Your dream is that your start up can create the ideal working environment where everyone can achieve their full potential.

And yet….

And yet, after a few months, a few years or too much stress and a few tears, you begin to dislike, hate or simply just fight with your co-founder.

Why? And what can you do about it?

How to overcome co-founder fights

Here are 5 tips

1.) Don’t have co-founders

Okay, the obvious question – but why have co-founders in the first place? Well, part of the answer will be the data shows that solo founder companies fail more often. Also, these are the people that you will be working with – going to war with – so, it’s nice to not do that alone.

However, if you are a second time or serial entrepreneur

Although, there are some caveats we can put

2.) Accept the inequality

It is human nature to believe that you do more work that your partner(s). Yes it is. We just have to accept that. (I got that from Henry Cloud – but I can’t work out where he got it from… yet, anyway). So, that means that if we compare ourselves too closely then we are always going to feel that we are delivering more.

The solution is this – if your partner is hitting their objectives, great, if not, then have a conversation about what is going on. Be prepared to accept that the business isn’t doing what you want it to do, you haven’t got the right partners (yes, it could be you) and equally, it may just be part of the process.

3.) Measure energy not hours

Founders, like leaders, invest their energy and commitment alongside their time. But if you had to choose, take energy above time always. That’s because there is a fundamental effort to create change and that effort requires energy. Of course, you have to do the work too – but it isn’t just about time.

However, we are reset to measure time – I did xyz days and you took a holiday.

Instead, switch the conversation to one of energy and ask, who is bringing the most energy to the room, the team, the business?

And, if you need a break or holiday or recapture that energy

4.) Have crucial conversations early

What’s a crucial conversation? Well, you generally know it when you start one!

It’s a conversation where everyone suddenly gets honest and the whole project, or at least your relationships, hang in the balance.

Sometimes they go well, but mostly they end badly.

So, here’s trick – make sure that everyone is allowed to state the facts ***as they see them***. That’s the key bit, a deep seated disagreement will involve dealing with the issue that you both (or all of you if there are more) see different ‘facts’.

When you realise that each person has a different view of ‘what is true’ that’s where the conversation usually descends into an argument with ‘you gotta be kidding…’ being a good way to start a bad argument!

Okay, so instead, give everyone permission to say how they see the facts. Then state how you see the facts too.

5.) Switch the focus from hours to personal growth

Why is it some of us can achieve huge amounts but others very little? After all, we all have 24 hours. So what’s the difference?

Personal growth!

So, if your start up is suffering under ridiculous stress and you feel yourself burning out because your co-founders aren’t pulling their weight…. then, tough though it sounds, take a good long hard look at yourself.

As John Maxwell says ‘good management of bad experiences leads to explosive personal growth’.

Hmmm, I hear to say – but stay with it…

What Maxwell is really saying is that tough times – if we handle them well – are often the propellant of personal growth. So, don’t blame your partners and founders, see it as an opportunity.

Okay, but equally, don’t let one partner run you around. If you sense that he or she isn’t doing what they said they’d do and more work is falling onto your plate, then go back to step 4 and have that crucial conversation.

Either way, you have to get to place of saying ‘I’m okay’ and you don’t do that by getting your head down and driving on with work. You get to ‘I’m okay’ when you lift your head up and you take on board your personal learning and you open up a safe way of taking on those crucial conversations.


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by Editor

Leader. Speaker. Trainer. Helping snr execs and entrepreneurs achieve their business and funding goals.

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