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It’s been almost a year since Elveo debuted and we’ve worked with over 450 entrepreneurs. Thanks to them, we’ve learned a lot about founders’ successful and unsuccessful behaviours.
Today’s article gives you the most common behavioural mistakes founders make, depending on who they are.

We’re all different and so are our pains

When we first started Elveo, we thought everyone does all of the most common mistakes: always adding new features, building our product on our own without talking to our client, etc.

After working with many different entrepreneurs, we came to find out that our mistakes are related to who we are. This makes sense, since mistakes are the product of choices and choices are powered by behaviours. Understanding our founder behaviours is thus an excellent way of knowing where we need the most work.

Living in the present: lacking vision

Some of us live in the present, the carpe diem spirit in a way. We want to enjoy things immediately, have fun and try new things without thinking much of the impact on our future.

This can be a great way of life: carpe diem people learn fast and a lot by themselves.

As founders and especially CEOs though, they live in the present so much that they face difficulties seeing the big picture, the long term goal.
People like this are excellent at scaling because they’re heavily operational, thinking day to day and step by step.
They enjoy fantasising about the future but their views of it gets a little blurred.

How to progress?

  1. As Carl Jung —the psychoanalyst whose work Elveo is built on— said, being aware of our unconscious difficulties is the biggest part of the job (and if you’ve been following us, you dit it!)
  2. Take your time when taking decisions. Don’t go too fast, think about consequences. Progressively, if you’re doing it everyday, it will come naturally
  3. Instead of thinking of your vision, use your values, your WHY. Why are you doing this project? Do you think something should change in the world? This is your vision. Materialise it, write down your values in a notebook, and you may see a vision for the future emerge. Put words behind it all weekly on a new page of your notebook. As you read the progress of your ideas, you will find a vision and eventually have a ‘aha’ moment
  4. Don’t forget that a vision is built in introspection and introversion. You will need time alone thinking about your work. Put yourself ‘in the zone’ with calm music, sports or whatever works for you and think about your why. Only then will your vision emerge.

Being too efficient: losing touch of your values

Some founders are outstanding at organising because they’re always looking for the most efficient way to work towards a goal, from point A to point B.

This results in great MVP, done in a world record time by polishing processes and putting details to the side.

As cofounders, these will prove so efficient that they may take too much distance with their values: what is the impact of my work on others? Why am I doing this? This is the consequence of ‘too fast’. When you want to go fast, you must put many of things, such as details, out of your focus. These kind of founders thus tend to shove values to the side.
These choices end up playing a role in the event of a midlife crisis, where you look for your why.

This usually results in an efficient startup, delivering fast results but devoid or any meaning and substantial values. We may add artificial values such as ‘working hard for a better world’ but nothing much deeper.
This makes the difference. As motivational speaker Simon Sinek said, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. This work similarly in recruiting meaningful people, so don’t put your values to the side.

How to progress?

  1. As Carl Jung —the psychoanalyst whose work Elveo is built on— said, being aware of our unconscious difficulties is the biggest part of the job (and if you’ve been following us, you dit it!)
  2. Take some introspect time. Just like your vision, values are an introverted kind of perception. Take notes, listen to good music, and think of why you’re doing this. Remember, money is a consequence of great work, not a purpose
  3. Think about your behaviours in the past years. What accomplishments, even small, are you proud of? This could be giving money to someone in need, acting more ecologically… Values are the consequences of actions, so if you’re having a hard time finding your values, start by understanding your actions

Being consistent: difficulties keeping harmony

We’ve talked a lot about our cofounders and CEOs but what about our CTOs? Good CTOs are generally strong technical people who always evaluate something by how thoroughly verified it is. This applies to their code: is this reliable? are we sure everything works? is this technology the right one for our product?

They always double check if things are proved and true. It takes them time to build something because they must to be sure any product is viable.

CTOs are usually like this, but this applies to every founder. The difficulty for them will be to keep harmony. If you need everything checked, you may push people a bit, and sometimes a lot: how well does your product work? Is your technology 100% viable?
Some people won’t like this “pushy” style. In a technical team for example, it is just as fundamental to build reliable tools as it is to be aware of the team’s harmony.

How to progress?

  1. Consistency is an excellent thing. Also try to see other people’s points of view. Everything can’t be proven, especially in entrepreneurship. Try new things, try to understand how others see the situation
  2. You may be right in criticising unproven things. This proves even more powerful when you ask questions instead of giving your ideas. Try to be less direct
  3. Take some personal time with your team, try to understand each and all of them, what are their aspirations and needs are. Be open to them and you will unlock a greater potential

The importance of behaviours

These 3 pains are the most common we’ve seen. You may have experienced some of them, it’s normal and part of the process! Remember that these are just 3 common pains linked to some entrepreneurial styles. We all have different pains according to our unique strengths. We’re all different and our differences will drive our disagreements, pains and mistakes.

This is why understanding your behaviours the earliest is the best way to manage them and scale even more efficiently. Being aware of your behaviour is also a good way to make your relationship with your cofounders go smoothly.

Here, hard skills are pointless: being a CEO can’t be taught with hard skills, tools, etc. It’s a mindset, a way of thinking.
Likewise, great sales people’s tools are useless, what makes them incredible is the way they act, not anything technical they’ve learned.

The most important thing as a founder: self development, getting the right behaviours and learning how you behave to scale yourself.

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