It seems, overnight, the world has decided what it’s been missing is intentionality. Our semi-automated existence has led to days that bleed into each other in a state of partially-conscious decision-making, where more often than not, we just pick the path of least resistance. Unsurprisingly, this also has led to a mass unshakeable feeling of discontent.
In order to mitigate this claustrophobic feeling, we need to apply intentionality into our days; take back the reins and set a goal in mind. In business, however, there are so many factors to execute in order to achieve success that it is easy to become overwhelmed. To make matters worse, there is one crucial factor in particular that is often ignored: the founding partnership that holds everything together. Well, we’ve come to your rescue - so read this till the very end!
Check Your Engine Now
Cofounderships should come with a warning signal, just like the ominous little light on your dashboard that begs you to check your car engine. Unfortunately though, they don’t. So always check in with your cofounder to remain on the same page. Being intentional about a check in will give you and your cofounder an opportunity to address issues that would likely be ignored or swept under the rug. This may mean setting aside an hour or even a whole day once a month to touch base and connect with one another. The advantage is that problems won’t culminate into something bigger down the road, nor become habits that are tough to break.
Easier said than done? A helpful tip is to plan a regular date to meet up with all partners and prepare a list of topics to address ahead of time so that the issues can be discussed effectively. This will help on two counts: it will avoid the “We need to talk” awkwardness and it will move the meeting along in a way that is productive.
Roles can and will be assigned accidentally if you’re not careful. So choose wisely. Someone might offer to take care of an aspect of business once and then they get stuck there forever. That’s why it is important to be intentional about your roles and responsibilities within the company.
Creating a list of all that you do in a day or the things you’re responsible for can help you keep track of and maintain intentionality behind the process. Just like your emotional check-in, let there be open communication about duties at the company. Compare your roles as well. Where in your position are you the same, and where are you different? Is someone drowning in work or doing too little and can there be a change? Be intentional about who you want to be as cofounders.
It’s All In The Perception
A huge part of starting and owning a business is leadership and what that means for the company culture. The founder is the face of the company and will be judged as such. When you’re cofounders, however, your relationship will set the tone for company culture. Refrain from happy accidents by actively controlling your image. Make a list of adjectives you want associated with your cofoundership and the company. Then ask your cofounder questions such as “How do you think employees see you?” or “What kind of boss would you like to be?” to better understand each other’s unique personalities. For example, if one of you is naturally strict and more serious, your relationship could quickly become an unfortunate good cop/bad cop situation. Ironing these things out ahead of time as well as being mindful of how you address each other and your employess can maintain a solid image of being more than capable leaders.
You’re Mightier Than The Sword
Communication. We’ve hammered it in repeatedly that it makes or breaks the whole shebang. Well it really does. So do it. Intentionality behind speech will help you in a myriad of ways, from better and clearer communication, to being more likely to get your desired outcome. Before you speak, don’t think of what you’re trying to say. Rather, think of what you’re trying to achieve by speaking.
Setting an outcome or goal as the primary point from which you then develop your words, thoughts and ideas will give you better control of your effect. If, for example, you wish to be inspiring, keep that in mind. Tell yourself “I want to inspire the people in this meeting room”, and feel your posture change, your face relax into a confident smile, and let the magic happen. Not a natural social butterfly? If you’re aiming for something more straightforward, you can simply state your intention before speaking, like “I’d like to help you feel comfortable in this environment”. Knowing someone’s intentions behind their conversation can suffice. Clear communication is key.
Finally, don’t forget to ask the right questions. A cofoundership is a multifaceted relationship with hundreds of moving parts, it becomes almost impossible to keep track of all of the decisions you have to make and goals you have to agree on if you never ask good questions to plan accordingly.
The Cofounder’s Hub has prepared for you over 100 questions that will help you stay intentional throughout your cofoundership journey, setting the stage for your business’ success. Let us ask the hard questions so you can focus on taking the first step into being an intentional and goal-oriented cofoundership. Find the Discovery Session here.