Wednesday, February 19


Founderitis - Founder's Syndrome

Imagine a parent. The parent gives birth to the child, cares for the child, feeds him and lets him grow. But when the child is old enough, the parent still wants to control the child and his ability to act autonomously. The result – a fractured parent-child relationship.

In organisations, the similar case is known as Founderitis (also known as Founder’s syndrome). The founder of  the organisation starts up a business and lets it grow. It does everything from capital investment to recruitments to taking small and large decisions. However, when the organisation grows, the founder still wants to be involved in every decision. The powers are still concentrated in the hands of the founder. While this is acceptable to an extent, it may sometimes lead to the poor performance of the organisation and may even limit the further growth and success of the organisation.

Symptoms of Founderitis
The founder says things like “I like to give control to the right people at the right time”. Actually, the right person never exists and the right time never arrives. All powers are concentrated in the hands of the founder.
The organisation is known and identified with the name of the founder
The founders come in late but expects the staff to come in time
Decisions are made in fire-fighting mode with little or no planning at all. The founder’s priorities are the organisation’s priorities.
Lack of succession planning
Lack of structured meetings
Control freak – they want to be included in every decision making process
There is no professional management, or even if there is one, they are far from being let to do things ‘professionally’.
Delegation is ineffective, or is not there at all

It's much easier said than done. Remedies to the founderitis are more psychological than technical. No wonder the founders need to realise that there is a problem. Founders need to take tough decisions about themselves and ensure that a professional board is in place. They need to empower the team and the board and take decisions in line with the board.

Being the largest investor does not guarantee them the CEO job. The self interests of the founder must be separated from the organisation's interests. 

The basic thing to keep in mind is that every parent has to let go the child do things his way someday. the same is true for organisations too. 

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