Drive, ambition, character and the ideas of a leader who surrounds themself with a team of passionate and knowledgeable employees can lead to the start and expansion of a successful company. International companies like Ford, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Dell, Google, and Walmart fit that mold.
Naturally, there are also Dutch companies that have developed into important players in their markets because of the personal views and strength of their leaders and their collaboration with an excellent team. Some notable examples include Albert Heijn, ASML, Booking.com, Exact, Pink Elephant, Wagenborg, SHV and TomTom.
The intriguing question is whether and when the founding party is prepared to let their ‘baby’ go, and delegate nurturing growth and success to others. Ego and personality are the starting point, but can also become an obstacle, that aspiration for greatness preventing further expansion. Many promising companies get stuck because their founders are unaware of their limitations, thereby preventing the product of their inspiration from becoming truly successful, or even worse, ruining it.
We frequently see examples of this type of ‘Greek tragedy’. Maes & Lunau doesn’t have a ready-made solution for this issue. It sometimes helps when the founding head of the business is open to self-reflection, so that a mutual relationship of trust can be forged. One of the most rewarding challenges of our profession is playing a constructive part in this process.
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