Man, I love this via AVC:
At the end of the day, people are loyal to a leader they believe in. Leading is not managing. Although it is impossible to lead if there is no management. But leading is that special thing. It is charisma, it is strength, it is communication, it is vision, it is listening, it is being there, it is calm, it is connecting, it is trust, faith, and belief. The best founders are great leaders. They may be shitty managers which means they need to find managers to help them. But they are great leaders. One of the things we look for in founders is leadership. If we want to follow them, we believe that others will too.
That’s why it’s okay if the Founder/CEO doesn’t stay the CEO forever.
Fred’s thoughts on mission are equally awesome:
People are loyal to a mission. I’ve seen super talented people walk away from compensation packages 2-3x what they currently make because they believe in what they are working on and think it will make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. This is why investing in mission driven companies can produce great financial returns. Mission driven companies have something most companies don’t have. They have “why” that keeps the team together through difficult times and when the compensation isn’t close to “market”.
I’ve met some leaders who can’t exactly tell me why they’ve started their company, or, at the very least, a compelling reason enough for people to stick around long-term.
And because it’s easier than ever to just start something and go it can attract all types of leadership and the qualities therein. Finding the great one among the many, many good ones can be tough. It’s worth it though, short and long-term.