What are the most important qualities a startup founder needs to be successful? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
In my experience, one of the most important qualities in a founder is alignment of their personal values with the leverage points of the company they are working to build. The best founders I have worked with build companies that are a reflection of their personality, and it is this personality - this DNA, that underpins the success of the business.
Every business has key areas of risk and areas where a structural advantage can be created with a strong strategy and great execution. The founder needs to be personally aligned with this. The founder needs to love to solve the type of problem that is the root cause of the key risks to the business and the source of the moat that defends the business as it scales. They need to have a deep, religious level, belief in the value of the structural advantage that can be created in the market and a tangible sense of the opportunity to create tremendous value for their customer if they can execute against their vision.
Out of this level of belief and personal alignment with the mission of the company comes deeper insight into strategy, greater intensity around execution and a much greater sense of urgency to win. Founders with this alignment have much higher clock speed when it comes to decision making, much less patience with dependencies, and tend to apply themselves to the clever hacks that lead to breakthroughs in markets and inflection points in company progress. They also tend to be much better evangelists of the problem they are solving, the solution they are offering and the business they are building. This makes them better recruiters, better salespeople and better marketers.
Last, and maybe most significant, founders that project their values onto the operating approach of their business are better leaders. They are able to communicate their values and operating principles clearly and easily and push this education further and further down in the organization as it scales. This allows them to trust their teammates to make decisions and run quickly toward the goals of the company. When the whole team is operating with one set of values and embraces an approach to decision making that is aligned with increasing the critical advantage the company needs to win, the founder can get out of the way and trust the team to do the best thing with the information they have available at the time.
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