Rockstars don’t scale.
Having used the phrase ‘Rockstars don’t scale” a few times in the last 2 weeks, I thought it would be a good quick topic to write about.
It had come up in conversations around transitioning from a pure all founder startup to a scaling startup. Some initial traction has been achieved, and now the workload is growing, there is revenue, and it is time to hire.
Founders, more often than not, try to be superheros, and often, they are. They have spent their lives pushing, being best of breed and standout performers at whatever they are doing. This is a typical path early on in ones personal development. We are socialized and trained to excel. School teaches us, and rewards us, based on individual achievement.
Personal rewards and advancement at work are based on being an upper percentile ‘stand out’ performer.
This changes when you want to grow a company. In simplified math, if you are an exceptional performer and doing 150% 0r 200% of what a ‘normal’ human can do, you are doing great. The challenge is that you cap out and cannot go beyond 200%. If you were to hire 5 mediocre people that output 50%, they would exceed your output. If you can take them up to 70 % productivity, they would greatly exceed your output, and if you can get to approach 100% of their potential, they would be more than double your output, week over week, year over year.
This is how things scale. The compounding effect is amazing.
This is the challenge. We spend all our lives trying to be a rockstar. If you are a founder of a startup, now it is time to consider a change of approach. If you want to scale, you need to focus your energy on growing your people. If you help them to be the best that they can be, the benefits are huge, and you will reap the rewards.