Since Robin Williams' passing earlier this week, I've been pondering the gifted–troubled tension that many highly capable people struggle with. Williams was a gifted actor, yet he had a troubled private life. He wasn't unique in that regard: Alan Turing, John Nash (A Beautiful Mind) and many others were similarly afflicted.
As I pondered this, something dawned on me: many entrepreneurs face the same tension. They are great optimists, yet they often harbour a darker side. They have more ideas than most of us have hot breakfasts. However, many don't listen or take guidance well. They are happy in public, but some, privately, actually lack confidence and self-esteem. Consequently, the oversight of companies led by entrepreneurs can be a big challenge for boards: one of influence. How does a board get the most out of the entrepreneur, without suppressing their optimism? How about motivation? Zach Cutler's insightful summary, of five things that happy entrepreneurs take the time to do, provides a really good starting point for boards:
If boards can find ways of supporting these things that motivate entrepreneurs, then they may find it easier to focus their enthusiasm and optimism—onto the things that actually matter for the growth and development of the company, not just those things that grab the entrepreneur's attention today.
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Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.