15 Reasons Founders/CEOs Should Build Companies They'll Love Forever
In today's business world, where company building is a journey that is part art and part science, we can discover helpful insights from Jordan Peterson's bestselling book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Polarizing as he may be, it’s hard to dismiss some of the parallels we found between his chapter on child-rearing and how one must steward a business with high integrity.
In his book, a chapter is dedicated to discussing the importance of raising your children in a manner that ensures their success and that they’ll have positive interactions with others throughout life: “You love your kids, after all. If their actions make you dislike them, think what an effect they will have on other people, who care much less about them than you.”
It's been our experience that most Founders/CEOs are indelibly attached to their startups and might even anthropomorphize the new venture and call it their “baby.” Obviously, we want people not only to like our ventures but to invest in them heavily, whether by purchasing our products and services or joining our team.
With a nod to Peterson, we propose that Founders/CEOs ought to build companies they'll love forever. When we build companies that resonate with us, they are more likely to resonate with others, turning Ideal Stakeholders into loyal advocates and active contributors to our success.
In both parenting and company building, the essence lies in nurturing something with care, dedication, and a profound connection. Let's delve into why this perspective is essential for Founders/CEOs, providing what is hopefully an interesting take on the act of creating great organizations that are focused, aligned, and thriving.
1. Alignment with Core Values
Just as good parents instill their values in their children, good Founders/CEOs imprint their guiding principles on their companies. Building a company that aligns with our core beliefs and guiding principles — our worldview — ensures that our work is not just profitable but also meaningful.
When our company embodies our worldview, it attracts those Ideal Stakeholders (employees, customers, partners, investors) who share our Vision and Core Values, creating a strong, harmonious work environment.
2. Teach Respect and Responsibility in the Workplace
Just as parents instill in their children the need to respect others and take responsibility for their actions, Founders/CEOs should foster a culture of respect and accountability among employees.
By following the Platinum Rule (a variation of the Golden Rule that asks that you “Do unto others as they would want to be done to them”) we can create a positive and productive work environment where everyone can become the best version of their better selves.
3. Promote Positive Behavior through Recognition
Raising a child with positive reinforcement is proven more effective and healthful, and Founders/CEOs must also embrace this philosophy.
Founders/CEOs can encourage positive behavior and performance among employees by recognizing and rewarding their efforts and achievements. Acknowledging and praising employees can reinforce a positive work atmosphere and ensure that everyone “plays together well in the sandbox,” so to speak.
4. Address Misconduct and Misbehavior
If we're not taught to respectfully engage with others from childhood, forging healthy relationships becomes far more problematic.
It's essential for Founders/CEOs to address misconduct or misbehavior within the company promptly. Like parents disciplining their children when necessary, Founders/CEOs should ensure that violations of your Core Values, guiding principles, company policies, or ethical standards are appropriately handled.
5. Balance Leadership and Empathy
Peterson supports parents taking an active role in raising their children and provides insights into how to strike a balance between discipline and compassion. Similarly, Founders/CEOs should find a middle ground between effective leadership and showing empathy toward employees.
Empathetic leadership can create a more compassionate and supportive work environment, enhancing team morale and boosting overall productivity
6. Foster Good Relationships and Teamwork
Peterson affirms a principle of early human enculturation when he says: “Parents are the arbiters of society. They teach children how to behave so that other people will be able to interact meaningfully and productively with them.”
Much as positive parent-child relationships are important, Founders/CEOs should also prioritize building strong relationships with each and every one of their Ideal Stakeholders. This mindset helps the company build enduring high-trust relationships based upon respect, appreciation, and a need for mutual success.
7. Passion Fuels Innovation
Just as parents who love and nurture their children tend to raise creative and confident individuals, Founders/CEOs who are passionate about their companies drive innovation.
A deep emotional connection to your venture can be the catalyst for groundbreaking ideas and solutions. It's this fervor that propels you to constantly seek improvement and embrace change as a natural part of the Founder/CEO’s journey.
8. Resilience Amid Challenges
Parenting and founding share a common thread: they both come with their fair share of challenges.
When Founders/CEOs truly love their companies, they become resilient in the face of adversity and are willing to do whatever it takes to build a thriving and successful organization. They view setbacks not as failures but as opportunities for growth.
This resilience is often what sets successful Founders/CEOs apart from the rest. But even more important, resilience becomes a core characteristic of their companies.
9. Growth and Maturity
Responsible parents tend to focus on their children's well-being and future success, and the results have significant social and economic implications. As Peterson points out, the contrasts between a properly socialized child and a poorly socialized one cannot be more dramatic: “Potentially friendly peers and interested adults are much more likely to turn their attention to interacting with other children whose cost/benefit ratio, to speak bluntly, would be much lower.”
Similarly, the Founder/CEO should, at a minimum, intend to be available until "the child" no longer needs them. This mindset helps establish a sense of responsibility akin to parenting the venture to full maturity (we refer to this as a Stage 5 Company).
Without this level of guidance and support, there’s very little likelihood that the company can confidently be handed off to a new leader and/or sold. This level of care and nurture is why lots of successful Founders/CEOs have personalities that score high in conscientiousness.
10. Employee Engagement
Just as children thrive in loving environments, employees thrive in companies where the Founder/CEO’s passion is palpable.
When Founders/CEOs genuinely love their businesses, this passion becomes contagious, motivating employees to go above and beyond.
This heightened engagement leads to increased productivity and a sense of purpose and fulfillment among the workforce.
11. Adaptability and Evolution
As children grow and evolve, parents must adapt to support their changing needs.
Similarly, companies need to adjust to evolving market dynamics. Founders/CEOs who love their businesses are more willing to personally embrace change and advance a culture that does the same — adjusting when necessary and staying attuned to the shifting needs of customers and the marketplace.
12. Customer Loyalty
Companies that are founded on passion and genuine care for each and every one of their Ideal Stakeholders almost always garner strong loyalty.
Ideal Stakeholders can sense when a business is driven by a deep love for who it serves and what it offers. This loyalty translates into repeat business, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals.
13. Emotional Fulfillment
Just as good parents find deep emotional fulfillment in watching their children thrive, Founders/CEOs who build companies they love experience a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment. This emotional connection sustains them through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
14. Attracting Investment and Partnerships
Ideal Stakeholders are drawn to Founders/CEOs who are genuinely passionate about their ventures. Building a company you love increases your ability to attract funding and form partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations that share your Vision.
15. Legacy and Impact
Finally, much like how good parents aspire to leave a positive legacy for their children, good Founders/CEOs create a lasting impact through their companies.
Building a company you love allows you to leave a legacy that extends beyond profit margins — it’s about fostering positive transformation in both your industry and community.
In Short: Build an Organization that Thrives
In summary, the wisdom of good parenting can be applied to starting a company that thrives long-term and contributes something positive to the world. Founders/CEOs should build companies they'll love forever because it fuels innovation, fosters resilience, aligns with their Core Values, promotes a long-term Vision, enhances employee engagement, and generates loyalty from all of their Ideal Stakeholders.
This emotional connection leads to adaptability; attracts the right employees, customers, partners, and investors; and empowers Founders/CEOs to leave an enduring imprint by making the world a better place than they found it.
When you pour your heart and soul into your business, it has the potential not only to thrive but also to bring you immeasurable joy and fulfillment all along your entrepreneurial journey.