Hello all,

About a year and a half ago, I was presented with a business concept by a friend and his friend that the friend had come up with.  They asked me to join as they needed someone with management experience to help build, launch and run the venture.

We have been working on it ever since and as of about 4 months ago, all went in full time so that we can pitch investors, raise the capital we need to start and launch the company.  

We are still in that process but something that has happened over the last year (more the last 4 months that I have been full time working with these guys) is that my friends friend (the originator of the concept) is becoming a large disappointment in my eyes.

I feel like I am constantly having to check in on him, to the point that I am almost micromanaging, to make sure things are done and done right.  Its a tough situation because we are all supposed to be "equals" both from a percentage standpoint and just being peers.  Though I was appointed the CEO in the last 5 months, I have tread lightly using that position power over him because I want us to take the initiative because its our business not because they are forced to.

I finally blew up a bit yesterday at our weekly management meeting because I can no longer take treating a managing partner in the company like he is a DR in an entry-level position.  His attention to detail and initiative seem to be lacking and no matter how much I stress that our company is going to live and die by our excellence in execution (service-based company) and attention to detail (to the point of requesting he read certain books/articles), I feel that it may just not be in his nature.

In his defense, he does not have much experience in business (read management or a great deal of responsibility in general) but does have a 4 year degree and has worked for a major company in the past.  

Further, I started on board as the COO but once one of our investors started meeting with us, he requested that I become the CEO and "the originator" become the COO for the betterment of the company.  While i'm sure that stung a bit, I made the transition all about what was best for the company and best utilized our respective experience and I honestly do not think that he is purposely sabotaging the company or our operations.

My concern is that as a 3 man team getting ready to launch a fairly large venture, and with him in a role that will essentially guide the day to day operations and the employees, how are things going to be when we are actually operational and I have even more than the 10 million things i currently have on my plate.  I can't babysit him to make sure he is doing his work or MUCH more importantly that its being done to my/the company's standards.

Obviously I can't let him go and he was the originator of the concept.  My end goal is that he steps up his work ethic and quality and we are able to make this new company great but i'm at a loss of what else to do to make that happen.

If anyone has been in a similar situation, I would greatly appreciate any insight on what may help this very stressful issue that I am experiencing.

Thanks all!


flexiblefine's picture

This guy is the one who came up with the idea? I wonder if he's a high I in the DISC pattern, and you've got high-C standards.

Review the various DISC podcasts and see if that doesn't shed some light on the matter. Maybe he's much better at coming up with ideas than following through on them. If so, the actual duties of a COO may not be suited to him. With a better idea of his DISC profile, you can help him see issues in terms he can relate to. 

As a three-man company, the titles probably aren't that important -- but he should have a role and title that acknowledge his contribution and suit his abilities.

I wish you wild success in this venture. 

Houston, Texas, USA
DISC: 1476

jg407's picture

 Thanks Flex, I'm actually a High Di and though I have asked him several times, he hasn't taken the DISC profile yet.  

Unfortunately if he cannot fulfill the COO duties than we are in big trouble as my focus is on raising capital, pitching investors, marketing, sales and business development etc.  I will not have the time to oversee all of this and operations.  The titles are actually very important because we are a three man company poised to be a 20 man company in a year.  We are building the structure properly from the beginning so as not to be caught off guard when/if the planned growth comes to fruition.

I appreciate the well wishes and thanks again for your response.

naraa's picture
Training Badge

 If you have the money you may be able to overcome his weakness in attention to detail by hiring someone under him that do that.  The biggest mistake would be to demand from him something that he cannot deliver.  If you still trust the guy though (and by trust I mean believe on his intentions), and your problem is that he is not performing to the standard you want him to perform, you can still solve this issue.   It may cost you more than you have originally estimated, but you can solve it. Hard to say not knowing the guy, but he can still be the COO even being a high I.     Listen to the podcast on how to manage a high I.  Observe him.  You don't need him to take the test to find out what he is.  And try things out to improve his performance.

I haven´t been in a similar situation.  But I have seen people trying to get some things out of a person and this person just could´t deliver that.  On the other hand, the person was giving something else and they could´t see it because they were so focus on the one thing they thought the person should be giving them.  

I am not sure what the whole situation is, but it does sound like a very exciting but also very demanding situation.  Maybe I am reading too much between the lines and please disregard what I am saying if I am doing that, but your email suggests that your maybe quite stressed out.  Maybe your partner is too.  People may be able to actually increase performance under a bit of stress or for a short time, but for a longer time it eventually has a tole on people´s performance.  

If you are stressed out, really make sure your problems are all really true and as big as you are picturing them.  While it is a valid point that you have to look ahead, you may be looking too far ahead and precisely the frustration you are facing is because you are worrying about a problem that has not really happened yet and consequently which you cannot solve yet.  You are assuming the guy will fail because he does´t pay attention to detail.  Are you sure he will fail if he has somebody working for him (who he does not have now) who is good in details?  Are you sure these details can really cost your business (I am not saying they cannot, they may indeed, but perhaps you and your partner have a different view of what is important).  You cannot change the person, at least not now (you may be able to as the company grows, he may move to another role), value him for what he has provided and for what he for sure will keep providing and hire somebody else to either help you to free you time to have more time to manage this guy more closely or to help compensate the weaknesses of work for the other guy compensating for his lack of attention to detail.

Wow! It sound like you are in a wonderful new venture, and you have the backup from investors.  Congratulations, you have made it this far, which is farther from what most people have.  You will make it further!    A problem is like a coin, on one side is the problem, on the other is the solution, you have to turn the coin to find the solution.  If you keep looking to the face of the problem you won´t see the solution.