Friday, October 7, 2011

My Way or the Highway

Self madeImage via Wikipedia
There's been a lot written about Steve Jobs in the last few days. He was a remarkable man.

David Pogue's piece in the New York Times, among others, does a great job describing Steve Jobs' strengths, his creativity, his genius, his focus. We've also heard the stories that he was, at times, hard to work with.

I think the "hard to work with" sentiment is a direct symptom of working with someone that has a clear and confident vision and controls, if not demands, having the final say. There's an expression, "My way or the highway" - In other words, "We're going to do this my way, otherwise you can drive off into the sunset".

That doesn't make everyone happy. But running a business isn't about making everyone on the team happy or coming to some sort of compromise. After all, isn't "compromise" often a euphemism to describe a less-than-ideal outcome?

Too many boards, product, and management teams at start-ups are paralyzed because everyone's opted into management-by-committee. Five people; five different opinions.

I'm not sure who said it first, but I heard it first from my pal Scott Rafer: "Start-ups are not democracies."
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