Fearful decisions are never a good idea. Yet I hear about them often when talking with those contemplating forming a new organization. Many fears seem to emerge at times of taking on risk. Sometimes the fear is so strong that it drives the decisions about the type of ownership.
For example, with solo owners one hears “I really wanted to be my own boss and so I did it alone.” This might actually mean “I don’t trust anyone enough to be a partner with them.”
And with partnerships one often hears “I wasn’t sure how to do any of this and so we decided to try it together. After all, two heads are better than one.” This might actually mean “I was too afraid and did not trust my own judgment enough to go it alone.”
And then there are other types of fears. For example, the fear of:
- failing to make enough money
- managing the financial details well
- managing disgruntled employees
- all the juggling of priorities involved
Fear is a powerful motivator in these decisions. Yet it can weigh too heavily in our thinking. There are realistic fears, and we should develop strategies to manage those. But inordinate fear can lead us to make wrong choices.
In my view the decision of ownership is best based on what the situation honestly calls for. And an honest assessment of the skills you can bring to the new organization is essential. Sometimes a partnership is the best way to go. In other cases one strong leader is going to be the best way to accomplish the organization’s mission. Once you have clarity about the mission and can see the receptivity of the business environment, you can decide what the best form of governance is for you.