Building Your Startup Leadership Team: The Fate of Your Company Hinges on Your First 5 Hires

by Fast Company

One of the most important and difficult decisions a founder will face is how best to build out the leadership team for his or her startup.

In this guest article for Fast Company, Todd McKinnon, CEO of  Okta, argues that a company’s leadership DNA is set by the first five leaders a company hires. “Getting it right often makes or breaks startups,” he writes. That’s why it’s so important for founders to make wise and informed decisions, taking into account five key things, starting with their choice of co-founder — someone who founders should have some experience with, but who “isn’t already a good friend or solid professional contact. Let’s face it–between the stress and pressure and spending long hours on your first investor deck, the friendship doesn’t stand a chance,” McKinnon writes.

When building out the leadership team, diversity is crucial. “Founders often make the massive mistake of building their leadership teams from a few select pools of candidates,” writes McKinnon. “The worst thing for a company in its infancy is monoculture…. Having a bunch of big-company folks turns you into a big company before your time. And having too many startup folks means you won’t know how to grow up and scale when the time comes.”

For more tips on how to make the most critical hiring decisions you’ll face as a founder wisely, read McKinnon’s full post.