Stop worrying over roles: team cohesion is critical!

Ok, we all know that after finding the great idea for a business, one of the next questions is who does what within the new company.

In every company there is a managing team as well as investors with no management functions. The investors’ role is to invest (!), review, share, challenge the strategy, the vision, the goals of the company. In other words, investors give their money and watch the developments, making sure that the management team follows an agreed roadmap, the shared plan leading to greater success.

The management team needs a head, a decision maker with a team that shares the vision and gets things done, watching over the whole of the company.

In France, that head position is called the President of an SAS company; in the United States it is referred to as the CEO (Chief Executive Officer); and in the UK it is the Director.

The other managing team members are called C-level executives: the CTO (Chief Technology Officer), CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), CFO (Chief Finance Officer), and the CLO or GC (Chief Legal Officer or General Counsel). They all may have the same roles and powers as the CEO depending on the agreements included in the statutes, and they can all be legal representatives of the company as regards third parties.

All managers can also have shares in the company. We distinguish founders from partners as they are the ones who created the company.

So how should you organize the team at launch?

Easy: don’t!

Because the team is so small and the challenges so large, everybody thinks that they are the key person, and will push for the position of CEO. The salesperson thinks that bringing in cash is the most important, with the others being just performers. Someone will think that they’re best with the public, or that it was their original idea, etc.

Stop overthinking the question of roles — they are secondary. Look beyond surface personalities and trust that experienced investors and major accelerators (Thefamily, Paul Graham) will advise you to focus on strong team cohesion for fast growing companies. So before appointing roles, focus on the personality and values of your partners — what’s critical is that everyone exercises flawless leadership together, communicates transparently, and shares an aligned vision and a strong level of dedication.

Only then will you go far enough to decide on roles.

And a special “dedicace” to Damien Gosset