In business, it is important to demarcate the line where friendship ends and “foundership” begins. When friendship becomes the rockface that does not allow negative feedback to flow within a founding team, it is a sure shot recipe for disaster.
Therefore, it is extremely important for the founding team to schedule a time every week to have a candid feedback session where problems plaguing the company and individuals’ business challenges are discussed openly. These are going to be sessions where there will be finger pointing, criticism, disagreements, heated arguments and maybe even a few tears, but the objective is to achieve what is best for the company without pandering to individuals’ egos. They may not conclude the solutions to those problems in that meeting, but with the problems laid out clearly for everyone, each founder is now aware of the issues and can start to think of ways to resolve them.
Sometimes founders require the help of an outsider to initiate these meetings. It could be a mutual friend, a mentor, a board member or even a family member that all the founding members trust. This person could also be responsible for mediating conversations and deciding the right course of action in case there is an impasse and the founders should be ready to accept his/her decision if it comes to that.
Strengthening the conversational muscle may take time, there might be some uncomfortable moments and an uber number of reasons to discontinue the process. However, I must tell you that there is nothing more exciting to investors and employees (current and prospective) than a founding team that self-analyses, course corrects and keeps growing without outside intervention.