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I'm running into a real-life version of this debate right now. I've been told I am "too folksy" (and actually, I just realized that when I was a tenure-track professor, I was accused of spending too much time communicating with students). I'm "folksy" because I want anyone to be comfortable bringing me ideas or letting me know I'm off track. Anyone inside my organization or outside my organization...

The implications of this for me are actually potentially devastating. I risk a Board of Directors deciding that I must not want to be that "profile" leader they're looking for. I risk people who are all about status not taking me seriously because I don't screen calls. I risk people "outside" deferring to me instead of the highly empowered team I hope to put together.

So, that covers integrity and courage. Add two other things: clarity of vision and hard damn work. It really is more difficult to do it this way. It take way more communication and you cannot take the easy way out, ever.

Recruiting is absolutely crucial in this. Even if *I* work to maintain transparency and flatness and agility, if I let status-seekers in, we're toast. If they don't have the same resolve I have, if they don't really get the vision, we're toast. Not. Easy.

I'll let you know how my recruiting strategy goes in a month!


Terry, wow, talk about being in the midst of a real life test of ones convictions!

Take solace in the fact that the best and most successful companies had/have the most profilic and daring leaders that put their personal stamp on the firm - quirky, not-by-the-book or otherwise. And then built a team of real people with the same vision, integrity and resolve.

Something along the lines of: Leading a flock of sheep is one thing (and requires lots of time spent on running around and barking) while leading a pack of wolves could amplify the leading ideas (although with some occasional internal 'fights' included) :-)

Myself I take the 'easy way out' not wanting any VCs or the like in the door - or rather being quite sure that my kind of term sheet would be dismissed within two seconds :-) No board of directors, investors have complete access to everything that happens, good or bad. Feedback invited and big decisions discussed live.

Looking forward to hear more how it pans out, but that it'll pan out I'm sure. Nothing can stop real integrity and resolve!

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