Why leadership is a dealbreaker for startups

By Joanna Wyganowska

Leadership and culture are frequently cited topics in the context of a startup or scaleup, but are often too conceptual or misconstrued and limited in practical understanding of the impact they have on company performance.   

A recent research project I undertook independently, exploring how leadership and culture contribute to the sustainable success of high growth companies, reveals that these issues play a pivotal role and need to be better understood by high growth founders and company leaders.

The project involved 14 informal interviews with startup founders, leaders of scaleups, and venture capital investors (most of whom have personally founded companies), currently based in Sydney, including the likes of Blackbird Ventures, Atlassian, HotelsCombined, and Premonition.

Everyone who participated in the research aligned with the view that leadership and culture play a big part in company performance. A small business with weak leadership and a ‘toxic’ culture will struggle to grow or survive. 

Leadership matters – and is often a deal breaker

The role of the leader in a growing company is complex and demanding. In the beginning creativity, innovation, and experimentation are the foundations for bringing a great idea to life.

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