Co-founders: When There’s Trouble Ahead

How is your relationship with your business partner or co-founder? Entrepreneur and startup consultant Garry Tan shares his experience in a new article for TechCrunch. In his article, “Co-founder Conflict,” Tan explains, “Successful co-founders actually embrace conflict, and are constantly in the process of resolving it. If you can’t argue and arrive at the best solution, you’re not doing the work to actually have a real, healthy working relationship.”

Co-founders need to approach their partnership like any other relationship, even a marriage. When the communication starts to break down, trouble is ahead. In Tan’s case, the problem was that he and the other co-founder both took an avoidant approach to conflict. Instead of addressing it, they ignored it and avoided each other. They weren’t spending time outside of work together, which Tan says is a must for co-founders.

When that relationship starts to crumble, co-founders will see what Tan refers to as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which are defensiveness, criticism, contempt and stonewalling. You may need to get some help from a professional to help you and your co-founder work through these issues. This person can help you establish proper boundaries and rules for disagreements where both parties are respected.

To read more of Tan’s insights for co-founders, see his full article from TechCrunch.