How to Spot a Bad Founder

As a recruiter for the last 20 years and using Opusuna's role-based assessment for over ten, I've come to experience firsthand that this is true:

“In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.”

Margaret Wheatley

I have worked with a diverse group of founders and entrepreneurs who are passionate about their ideas and committed to building successful companies. While technical skills and industry knowledge are undoubtedly critical for Founders, another essential ability sets successful entrepreneurs apart: the ability to collaborate.

The ability to collaborate is essential for any Founder to be successful; they need to be able to work well with others, in order to attract top talent, build strong partnerships, and navigate the inevitable challenges that arise during the startup journey.

Opusuna's behavioral assessment provides valuable information about a Founder's behavior in working with others to overcome obstacles and achieve common goals. Opusuna's assessment measures person-to-person (P2P) interaction and person-to-team (P2T) interaction. The following excerpts are from the Opusuna results of real Founders:

  • This Founder has some serious issues regarding being a leader. Depending on the job type, this could be a problem. The higher the leadership level, the more potential for issues to arise.
  • This Founder will be secretly terrified at the prospect of overcoming challenges that will benefit the organization. Furthermore, this candidate will lead projects and manage processes rigidly, including trying to dominate people, especially those who may be quite different in their thinking and customs.
  • This Founder will not fairly consider anyone's interests without favoring some at the expense of others. It is also worthy of note that they will not make themselves available to people, show interest in them or be ready to answer their questions. They will have a narrow range of concepts and indicators to guide their actions, so they will seldom be adjusted as appropriate.
  • This Founder tends to view those that work for him as servants who are doing what is expected of them and no more; this will make them exceptionally unpleasant to work with.
  • This Founder wants to lead and be the Big Cheese, but wants to keep everything from those who work with them, and this tends to lead to a display of stingy and miserly behavior that makes it challenging to motivate people and engender their loyalty.
  • This Founder will only seek to improve themselves within the routine demands of the job. Furthermore, they neither value the organization nor have any pride in working there. Similarly, they also influence, in a negative way, the organizational environment and its image to staff, customers, and suppliers.
  • This Founder will attempt, usually unsuccessfully, to gain the confidence of others through deception and place blame for their failings on them. Notable is that they will make poor decisions that do not sufficiently take into consideration the variables and risks inherent to the organization. Significant is that they will neither inspire nor mobilize people to maintain themselves in an up-to-date manner, which will compromise the organization's objectives.
  • This Founder will either accept anything that comes along merely because it is the current fashion or reject innovative and promising new alternatives out of suspicion of anything new. Furthermore, they will convey an unenthusiastic and negative attitude toward overcoming their challenges to their team.
  • This Founder is likely to do whatever they think is right for themselves and will do it in any effective manner, no matter how manipulative.
  • This Founder does not want to put restrictions on other people or hold them to their standards.
  • This Founder will likely be very difficult to work with because of their insistence on doing whatever and their lack of organization.
  • This Founder insists that others work according to her standards but doesn't want to give them the means; they tend to end up disappointed and blame this on others.
  • This Founder will be reluctant to accept new ideas and concepts or adapt them to the problems presented. Furthermore, they have great difficulty balancing their work and personal life, so neither interferes unduly with the other.
  • This Founder will have little self-confidence, especially in complex and risky situations and therefore will not act with flexibility while still adapting to further changes as needed.
  • This Founder is unconcerned with the importance of taking overt action themselves at times. If a situation requires it, he may come up short.
  • This Founder is over-ambitious but will have difficulty drawing others in to work with them.
  • This Founder will likely have difficulty in a top executive position when building a solid team is desired. Their reluctance to socialize will place barriers in attracting and retaining good people, inspiring their loyalty, and transmitting the vision for the organization.
  • This Founder is ambitious and thinks big but doesn't have the inner resources to back this up. They tend to live in their fantasy world, where they are a 'superhero' and will not work well with others because of that.

A person's behavior and stress response is the difference between the success and failure of your investment, so how can you get the complete picture of a Founder?

We live in a world of prediction and personalization. Only Opusuna can predict with objectivity and incredible accuracy which Founders will succeed. And as a recruiter, I can only do my job with it. When people work well with others, they grow by attracting the best talent, building cultures of collaboration and respect, and overcoming obstacles and challenges.

I highly recommend Opusuna's behavioral assessment for anyone looking to measure the #1 performance indicator of how a person behaves under stress while working alone, one-on-one, or in a team to overcome obstacles and achieve common goals.