Entrepreneurial Planning Blog Topic 5

William Casey Asbill-Beck

ENT- 600: Entrepreneurial Planning


Topic Five


Discuss role dilemmas (Chapter 5, The Founder’s Dilemmas).


Chapter five of The Founder’s Dilemmas discusses role dilemmas.   Wasserman guides us through dilemmas faced by founders when structuring roles.  Chapter six of How to Hire A-Player compliments chapter five of the Founder’s Dilemmas.  The A-players one hires directly influences how to define roles, responsibilities, and division of labor.

To calculate potential titles, Wasserman suggest taking three factors under consideration.  (a) Each founder’s level of commitment, (b) which founder are the ideal people, and (c) individuals human social, and financial capital.  Once these factors are considered, the next step is to determine individual roles and their responsibilities.  Deciding when to create overlapping or divided roles and responsibilities also depends on your players strengths and weaknesses, hard skills and soft skills.

Another options to weigh are decision making approaches and choosing between a egalitarian or hierarchical style.  Wasserman explains in egalitarian or consensus approach team members ignore their official titles, make decisions collectively by coming to a complete consensus, and act as peers rather than superiors and subordinates.  A hierarchical or autocratic approach is when teams have a formal process for making decisions and a clear hierarchy, with a single person responsible for final decisions.

Chapter five continues to address various dilemmas faced with roles, responsibilities, and titles.  Constant team management, such as conflict resolution and relationship building is required throughout the businesses existence.  These roles and responsibilities will change as new players are brought into the team and others depart.


Discuss recognizing and appreciating people who may offer (the not necessarily obvious) “skills you can teach and skills you can’t” (Chapter 6, How to Hire A-Players).


Eric Herrenkohl starts chapter six off with a few examples of talent pools executives love to find A-players, and why.  An example presented is “people who grew up on farms have worked hard all their lives. They woke up early every day to get things done on the farm before they went to school.  They understand just how hard you have to work to keep a business running.  They already have the work ethic that is so important for success.”  (I chose this example because I’m biased)  The chapter continues with other examples of talent pool examples and how to find them.  Organizing the groups can start with identifying your various resources.  Some potential A-Players you already know and need no introduction, next, look towards people in your close circles.  After research, new pools of talent can be explored along with virtual networks and social media.  Herrenkohl suggest that life is an interview and one can find A-players in everywhere.

Chapter six of How to Hire-A-Players explains an important aspect to consider when interviewing potential players.  There are skills that you can teach (technical knowledge, product knowledge, understanding of a particular client)  and skills you can’t (motivation, leadership, commitment, ability to sell, and the desire to achieve).   Teaching someone hard skills is an easier process and requires less time.  Soft skills can be difficult to teach and not everyone will master them.  Finding talent pools with people who already posses the soft skills you are looking for is the most efficient.   Herrenkohl suggest that once a talent pool is recognized, interviewing a lot of people constantly is the way to find A-players.  After they are hired, there can be opportunities to teach the hard skills.


  1. In my opinion, I think having an “egalitarian” type culture for a team, but still having a designated person who has the ultimate say is an ideal situation. The only concern I have with a completely egalitarian team is that the lines can get hazy, and boundaries can be more easily overstepped. Also, the time it would take to reach a “consensus” could be counterproductive in some ways.

    In regards to skills you can’t teach and can teach, it greatly depends on the business. I know that in my dance business, the majority of my hires need to be highly motivated, passionate, and already skilled in dance, etc. This is just in my case, since it is a specialized field.


  2. Angie Ritter says


    I really enjoyed Herrenkohl’s discussion regarding locating A-players. It’s very true that we often limit ourselves by being too narrow in our thinking. As business owners, we create a competitive advantage by NOT thinking just like everyone else in our industry. Being open to the possibilities – and identifying our A-players wherever they may originate – are stepping stones to business success.



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