THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF BEING A FOUNDING LEADER ACCORDING TO SCOTT HIRSCH CEO
Being a CEO is a demanding and challenging position, but most CEO positions are held by leaders who have spent years training and working their way up the ladder. “But that’s not always the case for founder CEOs,” says Scott O Hirsch CEO, and founder of Media Direct. “Founder CEOs are often placed in a role of responsibility before they’re fully prepared for it. You had this great idea, started a company, and now you’re a leader by default.”
Luckily, as a founder CEO himself, Hirsch has some tips for his peers to help them navigate C-suite leadership’s sometimes choppy waters.
Recruitment is Vital Says Scott Hirsch CEO and Founder
“The best leaders always surround themselves with the best people,” says Scott Hirsch CEO, and founder of Media Direct. “Finding and retaining talent is how you balance out your strengths and weaknesses.”
It’s not unusual for many founders to see their core teams as resources, but Hirsch suggests that you let go of that mentality early on. “Especially in the beginning, your core team is your company,” he says. “They determine how well your company performs, and they build the foundation of your company culture. They set the tone of your success.”
Are you having a hard time recruiting top talent away from their high-paying jobs? “Figure out how you can inspire them. People — especially talented people — want to work with purpose. Initial recruitment is how you learn to sell your mission. Remember, passion draws passion. Be open about what drives you and your company,” says Scott O Hirsch.
He also suggests hiring for culture early on. “Decide what your values are, and don’t compromise. Your initial team is likely to become your leadership team as the company grows,” says Hirsch.
Focus on the Mission Says Scott O Hirsch
“Early on, it is so easy to become distracted,” says Scott O Hirsch, and Media Direct founder. “Your first client asks for special features or your sales guy finds a client who’s a little out of your company niche… You have to remember that there is a price tag attached to everything you do as a company, from hiring staff to available brain space and focus.”
Hirsch advises that you check every decision you make by holding it up against your company’s mission and vision. If the decision doesn’t serve the greater purpose or fall in line with your values, drop it. “You can’t afford to get distracted. You’re not a big company yet, so don’t start acting like one,” advises Scott O Hirsch.