Founder/Manager conflicts : LUSENET : What keeps you up at night? : One Thread

The three of us own a small (11p.) web strategy shop. My two partners butt heads lately to a degree which threatens to break up our management, and therefore the company. Neither have previous management or account experience with a web or traditional communications firm; each thinks he know it (whatever IT may be) better than the other. One is tactless and offers his unsolicited advice "for free, it's just a tip", and the other prefers to save up his frustrations until they erupt in an outburst such as "maybe we shouldn't work together"... We all agree on the company goals. My two partners just can't seem to accept each other's methods, and they certainly don't want advice from each other.

I'm looking for insight into this problem, perhaps some of you have experience with this type of situation.

I'm beginning to consider psychology as a career alternative ;)

-- Stephen Hay (, May 07, 2001



It sounds like you have three people with unspoken expectations, different views on responsibility and while you may have an agreement on company goals, you could have vastly differing ideas or even lack of vision in how to reach those goals. While it may sound like you need a psychologist, what I read between the lines is fear and desperation. This is pretty typical in a young business. Perhaps one of you doesn't trust their own ability to achieve your goals, there is probably fear about how to manage. When you don't know how and you look to partners to 'make it happen', all that fear is projected on to each other and manifests in behavior you are seeing.

Best bet? Get yourself a coach and have all three partners agree to group coaching and individual coaching. If you don't have the managerial skills to focus and drive your company, then look at bringing in a managing partner or coo as an employee. But you are right, if you leave it much longer, there won't be anything to talk about except that fear played the last card and found a way to be right "see, I told you we shouldn't work together!" If you focus on what you don't want then you'll get it. The reverse is also true. Learning to self-manage the fear by talking about it is the way out.

Good luck Stephen.

Lorraine Rieger Spirit West Management, Inc.

-- Lorraine Rieger (, May 22, 2001.

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