A few years ago I found myself encountering someone at work with a severe case of "Founder's Syndrome." If you're not familiar, it's a term sometimes used to refer to folks who have founded or led a company/organization for a long time and are very attached to the mission, vision, products, services, approach, culture, etc. They may even acknowledge it's time to pivot something, but still drag their feet or block real progress. And in these times, we can pretty much all agree the need for change is real.
Recently a friend approached me asking what to do with her own Founder's Syndrome situation, where she finds herself to be the new Executive Director of an organization in which the original founders are still working on projects as contractors. Predictably, she's having trouble getting them to support new ways of operating within their sector.
I always think it's helpful to ask the most embedded people three key questions in these kind of situations (like, literally ask them):
1) What does the founder have to lose?
2) What parts does he/she feel they own?
3) What does he/she "get" from keeping things status quo?
Change = loss. Even good change. Understanding the answers to these questions can help redirect the focus to the "real" reasons there is resistance and address the sense of loss a person might be experiencing.
What are your tips for dealing with Founder's Syndrome?