Let me tell you something Mr Sullivan

There’s a point in every founder’s career where being too hands-on becomes an impediment to their personal and business success.

The movie Margin Call has a wonderful scene, involving Jeremy Irons’ character John Tuld, which beautifully summarizes the need to step away from day-to-day business operations. It starts with Tuld addressing a risk analyst in front of the board of directors:

Let me tell you something Mr Sullivan. Do you care to know why I’m in this chair with you all? I mean why I earn the big bucks? I’m here for one reason and one reason alone. I’m here to guess what the music might do a week, a month, a year from now. That’s it. Nothing more. And standing here tonight I’m afraid that I don’t … hear … a … thing. Just … silence … So. Now that we know the music has stopped, what are we going to do about it.

The tl;dr here is the shift to reading markets, articulating and maintaining corporate vision, and defining company culture.

fwiw, if you’re a founder stepping into the CEO role at the business your founded, I highly recommend Rands’ blog. No-one explains leadership better.


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Ray Dalio at Davos World Economic Forum 2015