Founders breaking up and companies failing because of founder strife has become the norm. In fact, this is one of the top 3 reasons for startup failure. Hell, why just companies, even relationships seem to be failing across the spectrum.
I don’t profess to be a psychology savant. Neither do I have solutions that delve into the deeper recesses of the human mind, backed by data on research conducted at an Ivy-league school.
What do I know is that a simple belief predicated on several conversations can have a remedy – at least for the life-cycle of any venture.
What is paramount for founders to realize is that either by accident or design (in most cases it always is a mix – serendipity has a role to play no matter how much some of our metric driven brethren may deny it) the group has come together to make the damn thing work. They are in it to see it, hopefully, all the way to the end that leads to the pot of gold.
All the baser instincts of competitiveness, aggressiveness, pulling a fast one, rubbing the proverbial nose into the ground, the primal whoop of celebration after a particularly vicious scrap should be reserved for all that the startup is against – vicious marketplace, demanding customers, frenemy partners, changing technology etc.
You have 6,999,999,9XX other individuals to whet your competitive juices over and go to battle with. Why do it to the group that got together to do something meaningful!
Conflict is hardly an issue when things are going swimmingly well. But it rears its ugly head when there are differences in thinking on strategy, raising funds, sharing equity, hiring and eventually an exit.