Startup Integrator Fail

July 3, 2015

in Leadership, Ownership, Team Building

Last year, I played a hunch and hired a startup integrator. I thought our business needed one, and it is an idea from a well-known book called “Traction”. The goal was for this individual to run the day-to-day with”in” ArrayFire while I worked “on” ArrayFire and “on” our two new startups. The mandate for the integrator was simple:  grow the revenue.

This position failed to work well for several reasons:

  1. I did not provide enough training to this individual early on and that led to friction among team members.
  2. The caliber and quantity of people on our team (15) did not justify someone spending most of their time in oversight and overhead responsibilities. I had originally imagined this person also contributing to the service or product development efforts of our business. That did not happen, so the fit was not right.
  3. The natural leadership tact of this individual was contrary to the culture of our business. I will write more about this tomorrow.

The friction and extra overhead which entered our business as a result of hiring for a position that was not needed was a big mistake. While the individual was a great and competent person, the role was not needed. The net result was roughly $100k lost.

After about 10 months, I realized my mistake and we removed the position from our org chart. Now the startup integrator role is more distributed among our team members. Since they are all highly competent and self-driven, it works out better that way and everyone is happier.

Have you hired for a position that you regret creating?

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