The Missing Piece for Visionary Founders

Steve August
April 27, 2021
5 Rules for Rocket Ships

Last week, I wrote about the three biggest challenges that trip up Visionary Evangelist Founders (Type V’s) as they work to scale their businesses:

  1. Solving every challenge with a new idea
  2. Lack of patience for people and process
  3. Being overly dogmatic

You can read the full post here, but ultimately these three Founder mistakes add up to the missing piece for Visionary Founders to scale their companies: consistent execution.

Visionary Founders are naturally focused on vision, innovation, and creativity, especially around product. There’s no question these traits are fundamental to the initial success of the company.

But when it comes to scaling and fully realizing the vision, the real determinant of success is how well the company is able to execute.

James Currier of the VC firm NFX recently wrote:

“Most people think product innovation and growth are what drive $Trillion+ outcomes. In practice, operational excellence is the key driver to executing consistently for the long term. This is how you harness creativity that compounds value over time.”

In my last post, I talked about why mastering consistent execution can be challenging for Visionary Founders. It takes iterative focus on incremental steps and isn’t always their natural happy place.

So if Visionary Founders aren’t always wired for this missing piece, what can they do to make it happen without losing their ability to innovate and create?

Here are 3 things that Visionary Founders can do to stay in their happy place and start mastering operational excellence - even when they aren’t wired for it:

  1. Partner with an Organizational Maestro
    Knowing your Founder type gives you keen insight on which types can drive the areas that you are less wired for. Organizational Maestro types think about building high performing organizations like you think about building amazing products. Whether it’s a Co-Founder or a team member, the catch is it needs to be a true partnership where you recognize the value they are bringing.
  2. Adopt a Business Operating System
    The fundamentals of operational excellence are the same for almost every business. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel for your company. There are off-the-shelf frameworks that you can use and adapt to your business (like my Ruthlessly Simple Business Planning & Execution System). It almost doesn’t matter which business operation system you use, as long as you use one.
  3. Get a Founder Coach
    As a Type V Founder myself, I know all too well this transformation and how challenging it can be. Learning how to create operational excellence for your company is one of the most important things a Visionary Founder needs to do to successfully scale their business. Even with 1 & 2, it’s really helpful to have someone who’s been there and knows the pitfalls to coach you through this.

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