August 4th, 2017
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The initial act of founding a company is an expression of nonconformity. They must eventually convince others to join them, internalize that vision and will it into reality. But isn’t it counterintuitive to bring other originals—who may buck their ideas—into the fold?
“It’s true that every leader needs followers. We can’t all be nonconformists at every moment, but conformity is dangerous—especially for an entity in formation,” says Grant. “If you don’t hire originals, you run the risk of people disagreeing but not voicing their dissent. You want people who choose to follow because they genuinely believe in ideas, not because they’re afraid to be punished if they don’t. For startups, there’s so much pivoting that’s required that if you have a bunch of sheep, you’re in bad shape.”
Here’s more of Grant’s thinking on why it’s so essential to bring aboard originals early in the life of a company:
To seed a resilient culture. By default, companies are built in the image of their founders, which is why it’s vital to proactively introduce diversity of thought. “A resilient culture has a certain amount of resistance embedded in it. Not too much to capsize it, but enough so that it doesn’t atrophy,” says Grant. “What happens when startups get successful and grow is that they become more and more vulnerable to the attraction-selection-attrition cycle, where people of the same stripes are increasingly drawn to the organization, chosen by it, and retained at it. The way to combat that homogeneity creep is to proactively infuse the culture with originals, who have the will and skill to think differently. It’ll put you in a much better position to continue innovating, not only on a product—or technology—level, but all the decisions that go into running a company.”