Although the very formal role definitions inherent in the relationship between Billy Ladin and Paul Frison are unusual, the informal working out of such a relationship -- irrespective of titles -- happens all the time in entrepreneurial companies.

For whatever reason, creativity and organizational ability are not often found in the same person; yet it takes both to make any business effort a success. The key to merging these two types of talent is mutual respect, which requires the recognition that both talents are valuable and that they must be merged without destroying the vitality of either.

In my own company, I believe that we achieved this when we brought on David Clemm to be the chief operating officer of the business I founded. He brought an organizational talent that I do not pretend to have. Consequently, today we are a well-managed, well-organized, and profitable enterprise, and this is substantially different from where we were prior to David's arrival. What's more, I now have the opportunity to spend my time doing the things that I do well, rather than wasting my time and that of others doing things that I do badly, if at all.

Such a merger of talents is not without its painful moments, but these moments are certainly much less painful than the alternative, which is failure.

While I probably would not care to work for anyone, much less for a subordinate, I am quite prepared to work with all kinds of people. Obviously, there has to be a final place where the buck stops, but it does not have to be the same place for all activities, nor should it.