FOUNDERS AND SENIOR LEVEL RELATIONSHIPS
We understand start ups. We’ve worked for them and in them. We know what it takes to make a success of them. We also understand what gets in the way.
We use our skills and experience to help founders and C suite through the difficult issues that can arise between them such as:
Perceptions of imbalanced contributions
Issues over titles and roles
What happens when one wants to leave
Tensions over the correct strategy to adopt
Transitioning from small to medium to big
How we go about resolving it
We are unique in being able to draw from a variety of skills to help resolve the issues. We brainstorm, with you and between ourselves, to find what will work. We will think about:
Mediation – we use our mediation skills to generate constructive conversations between founders aimed at solutions. Sometimes it’s a formal mediation, sometimes it’s less formal than that.
Shareholder agreements, dynamic equity arrangements and contracts – sometimes it’s about putting these in place and helping the negotiations around them
Team interventions – it may be the perspective of the further business is needed or that the dynamics around broader teams also need working on. This can be done as a team exercise.
Coaching (we work in partnership with great coaches).
And much more.
The issue. Two founders had decided to end their partnership. Trust had broken down between them. One felt she had essentially carried the other for the past couple of years. The other felt unfairly judged, as though nothing she did was ever good enough in the eyes of her co-founder. Communication between them was nearly impossible and yet there were a load of decisions to make over the company's assets and liabilities (would one of them take the company over or would they dissolve it? who would be able to use the IP they had created going forward? who would be responsible for which practical steps necessary for the dissolution?).
How we resolved it. I met with them separately - understanding their perspectives on the past, the issues that needed resolving, the outcome they hoped for and the one they could live with. I then brought them into a room in which I had visually presented the key outcome they wanted and all the issues we needed to resolve in this one session. I facilitated the discussion - in their dynamic one was susceptible to just reluctantly agree to anything without having really expressed her needs. So I ensured nothing was left unsaid and what was said was presented constructively. They came to an agreement.
And here was the feedback:
"I cannot express my gratitude for what you have done for us both.
You have really made what could have been a very painful and drawn out thing
into a positive experience that has lead to a mutual understanding.
I am hugely relieved and positive about the results and
that would not have happened without your intervention."