Sean is having the worst week to date. 

Co-founder problems have resulted in a partnership ending. 

The top salesperson on his team quit. 

His then-partner decided she didn’t want to get married, just weeks before the wedding. 

The builder renovating his house ran away and didn’t complete the project after paying him up front.

And his grandmother passed away. 

Sean felt like things couldn’t get much worse.

But he when it came to his relationship problems, he couldn’t help but notice that there were very clear signs this would happen. 

Had the Co-Founder Problems Always Been There?

Sean had two business partners and both were close friends. One from university, and Mark, the cofounder he’s talking about today, from high school. 

In the process of building the business, Sean had a clear vision of how he wanted things to play out, and he needed someone in marketing to make it work. 

Mark was the only person in marketing that Sean really trusted.

So, in a last-minute decision, he brought him in to be a co-founder of the business. 

Mark was unhappy in his current position and agreed. He would take 33.3% of the business.

A clean 3-way split.

Fairly early on in the onboarding process, it was clear that his experience didn’t match what they needed. He knew that and was open about it. 

There were a lot of questions about what his role was. Further down the line, in 2019, it got to a point where everything was growing but they still weren’t making money. And it became really clear that they needed to hire above Mark for marketing support. 

It got to a point where it felt odd because Mark was doing low-level tasks and still taking a cut, while Sean and his other cofounder were leading the business.

It was awkward for everyone. So much so, Sean found that they were no longer talking outside of work. 

Ending the Partnership and Moving Forward

Sean recalls discussing their vision for the year, and Mark still focusing on low-level operations.

The business was moving forward and Sean and other co-founder Amar had big plans. But Mark clearly wasn’t able to step into this co-founder role. 

But Mark also wasn’t happy in the business. He wanted to be good at something, and he was very aware that he was underperforming. With an offer set in place, Mark left the business. 

As he was a friend, this was an emotional process for Sean.

In retrospect, he’s aware that he ignored the very clear signs that it wasn’t going to work, but kept going because he wanted Mark to be in the business. 

He was focused on making sure that his vision played out. And was willing to do anything to make it work. 

Throughout this episode, Sean makes references to his relationship with his former partner and how their relationship took a similar path.

In both cases, he was scared of the impact of making a rash gut decision. When the reality was, things got way worse by leaving them as they were.

He discusses his tendency to see the good in people and want the best out of a situation. But, his faith is not always compatible with that person’s ability. Instead, he focuses on his innate need to turn things around. It’s who he is.

In this episode, Sean and I talk more about the symptoms of this issue and how he can reach these decisions faster.

We explore how

  • This approach to decision-making affected his personal relationships
  • Having a person who was compatible with him helped to make decisions
  • Getting a coach has helped Sean identify the blind spots

Sean’s story is one that every founder can relate to when it comes to interpersonal relationships that don’t always work out for the best.

Tune in for more tips on how to deal with that in this episode.