240. Key to Enabling Autonomy for Founders

VC Minute
It's not just you; enabling autonomy is hard for all founders.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better

Click below to listen. 3m 22s duration.

Subscribe to your podcast platform of choice.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Google Podcasts
Listen on Amazon Music
Listen on Pocket Casts
Listen on Stitcher

Jeff Gardner:

Autonomy is very challenging for most entrepreneurs. If you think about it, most entrepreneurs have gotten to a point of success with the business because they know everything about everything in the business. And what happens is that as you raise capital and you start hiring great people on your team, you have to give those folks space and room to be able to do the work that you brought them on to do.

I’m working with a CEO right now who is so driven and so competitive and wants to win so badly in the market that he’s in, and yet he is struggling with letting go, even though we’ve now invested in great people and brought great people onto the team. The role of the CEO, as you grow and scale and bring on capital and great team members, is really to set up some of the things we’ve talked about previously, which is the visions and the expectations and helping to move the business forward.

As opposed to, getting in the code and doing code reviews. Or you’re jumping on the phone with every customer that has an issue. Those things, when you bring on the right people, you need to give them space to do great work. The coaching around a founder struggling with autonomy has to do with he or she is holding the company back. They may not feel it at that time, but having been on this journey from startups to 5 million to 10 million to 50 million and beyond, you will absolutely hold your company back.

One of the biggest motivators for these founders is to make sure that they are successful. A lot of times I’ll introduce them to other CEOs who have taken their businesses beyond 50 million, beyond 100 million, and that conversation, as far as they go how they struggled and how they had to let go as well, and that’s the only way they’re going to get to that level of success. It tends to be a very strong motivating factor to enable a founding CEO to let go.

When you’re letting go, an important part is you have to have these clear expectations. You can’t let go without setting expectations and not having these regular check-ins, your weekly one-on-ones; otherwise, the system breaks down. You can only give the folks autonomy if they know exactly what’s expected of them if they know exactly what the vision is, and that you’re regularly checking in with them to give them the support and the help that they need when they do need the help.

Rich Maloy:

Excellent stuff, Jeff, thank you. We’ll hear more from Jeff next week, as he continues to share insights from his book, “Love Your People.” Whether you’re an experienced leader or a new leader, there’s a ton that you can gain from Jeff and his book.

I’m grateful for AVL Growth Partners for supporting the VC minute. Why go fractional? Picture this: a CFO with an average of 19 years of senior finance CFO experience, alongside controllers and accountants with 15 years under their belts. This isn’t just bookkeeping. It’s the expertise your company needs to navigate economic challenges. If you want to take your company to the next level and need the experience required to make it happen, visit AVLgrowth.com right now. Time is our most precious asset, thank you for spending some of it with us this week.

About “Love Your People” by Jeff Gardner
Love over fear is the key to exceptional leadership. ‘Love Your People’ shatters conventional wisdom by advocating for a love-based approach that sparks unparalleled organizational success. Through gripping narratives, bold insights, and disruptive guidance, this manifesto redefines love as a strategic weapon, unleashing innovation, autonomy, and transparency. It challenges fear-driven leadership paradigms, igniting empowerment and championing personal growth and collaboration.  

Pick up your copy of Love Your People – An Entrepreneurial Leadership System at Amazon

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

Visit the VC Minute homepage for more episodes and more ways to subscribe.

Picture of VCMinute

About Us

We are in the business of helping young companies grow through seed investment and access to our network of leaders and industry experts.  People first. 

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter