Losing The Team
Boards can be pretty patient. They can put up with a lot of failings, particularly in the early days of a startup when the product isn't where it needs to be. But one thing a Board cannot tolerate is when a CEO loses the confidence of the team.
I feel that I must say this because I know that many folks in our portfolio read AVC. This is not a post about any specific company or any CEO or any team. This is just a statement of fact that I wanted to put out there because I was thinking about it.
If I think about the times I have had to remove a CEO, by far the most common reason was the loss of confidence of the team in the CEO. You get the call from one of the senior team members. They tell you that they are going to leave and so is everyone else on the senior team unless you do something about the leader. It is a palace coup. No guns are fired. But the boss has to go. And so he or she does. No Board can ignore that call.
So if you think the Board is the most important group you need to manage, you are dead wrong. The most important group you need to manage is your team. If you lose them, you lose your job.