Founder Roles: Got to Keep Them Separated

by Inc.

Learn why it’s important to keep the two fundamental founder roles separate.

founder roles

Les McKeown, CEO of Predictable Success, writes in Inc. that there are two founder roles that every successful startup needs, the visionary and the operator, and you can’t be both. “When a startup founder has the ability to switch easily between the visionary and operator roles,” McKeown says, “the new venture is more or less guaranteed to languish in a no-man’s-land.”

McKeown explains his stance on founder roles by describing the dual-role founder as an artisan who can both sell and make their product or service. As a result, the founder will try to do everything herself and “effectively block the startup’s ability to grow.” He goes on to point out that there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a dual-role founder, and he even provides two steps for “breaking out of The Artisan Trap.” First, decide which of the two founder roles you want to take, and then find someone else to perform the other role.