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How do I deal with a co-founder who procrastinates?


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Back in my banking startup days—yeah, that industry.. —we faced similar issues. One of my co-founders was a classic procrastinator, the kind who’d wait for the eleventh hour to get things rolling. Frustrating? Absolutely. But here’s how I handled it with a mix of savvy and a bit of cheek.

  • Straight Talk: First off, you’ve got to confront the issue. I remember pulling my co-founder aside for a good old-fashioned chat. No sugar-coating, just laid it out: "Look mate, your procrastination is like a spanner in our gears." Keep it real, because dancing around the problem won’t fix anything.
  • Set the Stage: We implemented crystal-clear goals and dead strict deadlines. Nothing gets people moving like a ticking clock and a bit of pressure, right? Make those deadlines non-negotiable. After all, in a startup, time is money, and money is something we didn’t want to waste.
  • Dig Deeper: Here's the kicker – people procrastinate for a reason. My co-founder? Overwhelmed to the nines. We tackled this by breaking down monster tasks into more manageable bites. Sometimes you need to play part-psychologist, part-boss to get to the crux of the issue.
  • Regular Reality Checks: We started having these weekly check-ins. Call them 'accountability sessions' if you fancy. It’s like having a mini-deadline each week, and nobody wants to be the only one showing up empty-handed.
  • Play to Strengths: This was a game-changer. We realigned roles to suit our passions and strengths. Turns out, my co-founder was less of a numbers guy and more of a creative. So, switching up his responsibilities got him actually jumping into tasks rather than dodging them.
  • Keep the Fire Burning: Regular pep talks on why we started the company in the first place helped stoke the motivational fires. A little passion goes a long way in scaring off the procrastination gremlins.
  • Get Some Muscle: When things got really sticky, we didn’t shy away from bringing in a seasoned mentor. Fresh perspectives can work wonders, and sometimes, you need that external force to shake things up.
  • Show No Mercy: Alright, maybe a bit dramatic, but if all else fails, you might have to make some tough calls for the good of the empire. Business is not for the faint-hearted, and tough love is sometimes part of the game.

In the end, it’s about finding the right mix of pressure and support, tailored to the person you’re dealing with. No two co-founders are the same, after all. Good luck, and remember, dealing with a procrastinator is more art than science—be creative, be firm, and keep your eyes on the prize!

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On 27/04/2024 at 02:57, Jeremy Lorne said:

Back in my banking startup days—yeah, that industry.. —we faced similar issues. One of my co-founders was a classic procrastinator, the kind who’d wait for the eleventh hour to get things rolling. Frustrating? Absolutely. But here’s how I handled it with a mix of savvy and a bit of cheek.

  • Straight Talk: First off, you’ve got to confront the issue. I remember pulling my co-founder aside for a good old-fashioned chat. No sugar-coating, just laid it out: "Look mate, your procrastination is like a spanner in our gears." Keep it real, because dancing around the problem won’t fix anything.
  • Set the Stage: We implemented crystal-clear goals and dead strict deadlines. Nothing gets people moving like a ticking clock and a bit of pressure, right? Make those deadlines non-negotiable. After all, in a startup, time is money, and money is something we didn’t want to waste.
  • Dig Deeper: Here's the kicker – people procrastinate for a reason. My co-founder? Overwhelmed to the nines. We tackled this by breaking down monster tasks into more manageable bites. Sometimes you need to play part-psychologist, part-boss to get to the crux of the issue.
  • Regular Reality Checks: We started having these weekly check-ins. Call them 'accountability sessions' if you fancy. It’s like having a mini-deadline each week, and nobody wants to be the only one showing up empty-handed.
  • Play to Strengths: This was a game-changer. We realigned roles to suit our passions and strengths. Turns out, my co-founder was less of a numbers guy and more of a creative. So, switching up his responsibilities got him actually jumping into tasks rather than dodging them.
  • Keep the Fire Burning: Regular pep talks on why we started the company in the first place helped stoke the motivational fires. A little passion goes a long way in scaring off the procrastination gremlins.
  • Get Some Muscle: When things got really sticky, we didn’t shy away from bringing in a seasoned mentor. Fresh perspectives can work wonders, and sometimes, you need that external force to shake things up.
  • Show No Mercy: Alright, maybe a bit dramatic, but if all else fails, you might have to make some tough calls for the good of the empire. Business is not for the faint-hearted, and tough love is sometimes part of the game.

In the end, it’s about finding the right mix of pressure and support, tailored to the person you’re dealing with. No two co-founders are the same, after all. Good luck, and remember, dealing with a procrastinator is more art than science—be creative, be firm, and keep your eyes on the prize!

Great answer Jeremy!

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