Do lousy employees make good entrepreneurs?

I recently met some brilliant startup founders that made lousy employees earlier.  Their common strand – they all got fired.  Does that mean all lousy employees will make terrific entrepreneurs?  I stretched my thought and pondered.  I thought I’ll blog those thoughts.

Structured organizations are hardly the place to be for potential free wheelers.  They detest authority and focus on hitting their goals. They cringe at servility of their peers and that gives them an air of superiority.  They want to do everything their way, want that freedom of choice very much.  They are never put off by disorder because they know to solve problems.

Does that mean structured organizations will never get creative hires?  Yes and No.  It is for the organization to be flexible a bit. Each manager has a responsibility to identify the guy and his make.  If you come across a creative fella, play down your supervisory instincts. Just draw the contours and leave him to play by his own rules.  Your task is to just ensure he stays inside the framework.  They may or may not be idealistic, but they are seldom unrealistic. They will change their direction when they see that change will improve their prospects for achieving their goals.

Now the question how to know a creative guy from an also ran.  It’s simple.  Give them some trouble to shoot and watch them at work.  Monitor their sense of urgency and passionate pursuit. Inactivity is not for these eager beavers. Most are at their best while under pressure and in the face of adversity. They thrive on self-confidence that deceptively looks like arrogance, but seldom is.  They don’t go home without fixing bugs.

If (s)he doesn’t exhibit some of these traits, you’ve got a very obedient, loyal employee that’ll swing from paycheck to paycheck.  For me, that just won’t do.  Throw problems at them and they’ll come back a few hours later with some excuses. You know you’ve got a “perfect employee”. Time to review your sense of judgment !


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