Step 3: Check in with your co-founder too
Founders have plenty to do; daily check-ins only solve short-term challenges. Dedicating a separate fixed regular time to have those uncomfortable conversations will help to build up your working relationship. It keeps both of you accountable to be radically honest with each other and is definitely more healthy in the long run.
For instance, any delay in giving constructive feedback on customer research can easily slow the speed your team is moving. Any delay in having that conversation to better understand each other’s motivations and working styles can result in bigger misunderstandings. The list can go on but what’s clear is the earlier you have those conversations, the quicker you sort those out and you become a better team.
“It’s one of the costliest founder mistakes that keep cropping up,” shares Gorlin.
“I’ve seen founders at various points in their entrepreneurial journey putting off hard conversations for the wrong reasons.
And instituting regularly scheduled “honest conversation” times is one of the easiest ways to go about it. It forces you to make time to give critical feedback, sort out disagreements and deliver the bad news.”
So what should founders chat about during these conversations?
It’s a time for founders to ask, “What should I know that you are not telling me,” and be given real, authentic feedback. Maybe it’s about the way one founder is doing customer research, and it is during these check-ins, they can go deeper into how customer research is done, and why it is done in a particular manner. Sometimes it might also be a really nice, sincere compliment that you or your co-founder wouldn’t have otherwise thought to verbalise.
It’s a time to unlock preconceived notions founders might have about each other and help each other be accountable to be radically honest, in order to chart the best path forward as a team.
What’s critical is to remember that Rome wasn’t built overnight, and it’s the same with cultivating self-honesty. Human tendencies to self-deceive don’t stop, and founders have to build the daily discipline to journal, reflect, schedule honest conversation times to grow in self-honesty. It’s the accumulation of little things that drive the eventual massive impact.
If you’re interested in learning about the psychology of founding a company, listen to our new podcast series, ‘The Founder’s Mindset’.