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What Makes a Successful Founder and Can It Be Taught?

When investors angels investors or early stage VC’s look at companies the most important thing they are looking for is a founder and team they believe is worth investing in. So, is there an objective method for a founder to know if they have what it takes to create a thriving business?

Michelle Duval, founder of Fingerprint for Success, points to years of academic research that led her to develop methods to assess and train more effective business leaders.

Marcos Dinnerstein, editor of Digital.NYC spoke with her recently as she prepares to conduct a two-day workshop for this professional coaching. (Nov. 7 - 8)

Based on your research, how are startup founders different from those leading mature-stage companies?

The research reveals time and time again that every person has unique entrepreneurial talents and blind spots - they just remain hidden for some.

When it comes to the fast-paced, ever-changing world of startup, certain attitudes lend themselves more favorably to success. Initiation, for example, is one of the key motivations for early-stage venture success - you must get started and keep moving towards your goals, even if there's no tried and tested plan to follow (there's often no time for that, anyway!). Sitting around and waiting for others to take action is not conducive with startup success.

However, in a mature-stage company, we saw that the opposite - reflection and patience - became more important as a venture comes of age, due to the need to pause and be more strategic in approach. An appreciation for structure and planning also comes in handy here (as opposed to in a startup, where we found a motivation for this is best kept low to achieve early-stage success) - it is fundamental to keeping a well-oiled machine operating smoothly and harmoniously, especially with multiple large teams working together.

Why come all the way from Australia to host this course?

New York will always be one of the prime destinations for people to connect with a leading edge technology - New Yorkers don't suffer fools, but there's an open-mindedness there that really lends itself not only to new tech, but also to successful entrepreneurship in general.

How does F4S help founders, accelerators and investors?

If there's one thing that we all seem to be short on, it's time - and that is especially true of founders!

F4S is an online platform that can provide deep analysis and incredible insights very quickly. Upon assessment, each person's attitudinal strengths and blind spots are unveiled with explanations on how they impact venture success. This information is critical for founders and accelerator programs, and can also provide investors with valuable insight into the unique abilities of a founder and their team.

If there's something a little inharmonious in the air, F4S cuts out the time spent on dealing with common issues like co-founder conflict and inter-team relations, instead providing a view into the working attitudes of each person, and how they can be complemented and applied in the best way for the individual and business. F4S is also used in the creation of tailored, high-performing teams.

How will a focus on attitude help founders and investors as we automate more in the Future of Work?

There's a lot of doom and gloom associated with the Future of Work - much of the media surrounding it focuses on automation and AI taking jobs and displacing humans in the workforce.

While it's inevitable that some jobs will be automated and limit the need for human labor in that area, there are many more that open up as a result of innovation - ones we can't even imagine just yet.

It is not humans at risk of being made redundant, only skills and experience.

Therefore, what becomes important for success in the future of work is a person's agility, creativity, and adaptability.

F4S will be a crucial tool in developing high-performance, cohesive teams rapidly (flash teams), and will reveal individuals' deepest motivations and strengths, ensuring they are placed in complementary roles. Not only that, but an individual could utilize their entrepreneurial talents (once known) and follow their passions in a self-employed realm or to contribute their uniqueness in other revolutionary projects.

Tell us about the F4S methodology and training.

The F4S Coach & Consultant training methodology is an experience. Participants are taken through a journey of discovery and education across the course of three separate and targeted learning modules.

In the first module, we explore the F4S assessment engine. This is all about understanding the heart of F4S, how all the cogs and gears fit together, and giving those in the room the tools to dissect an individual's results with immense accuracy and reliability.

The second module dives headlong into the extensive research conducted into entrepreneurship by F4S over the last twenty years. We explore how to use the findings of the research in practice using the F4S platform, applying this not only to individuals but also to co-founders, teams, investors, accelerators, large groups and more.

The final module of the training ties everything together with a laser focus on how to coach people using F4S. The exploration of creating entrepreneurial coaching interventions, coaching flexibility and adaptability for entrepreneurial blind spots, and facilitating individuals and teams to identify coaching goals to achieve specific business outcomes are just a few topics touched upon.

Can this be delivered on a platform vs. in a live classroom?

The F4S platform has embedded into it a great depth of personal learning and discovery, via animated videos and personal coaching tools that can be accessed 24/7.

This training is for key leaders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem who wanted to apply advanced consulting, coaching and mentoring to founders, and is therefore conducted in a live workshop environment where new skills can be learned through practice and feedback.

Who is the best fit for this program?

Accelerator program leaders, entrepreneurs in residence, mentors, investors and professional coaches will find F4S unlike anything they have ever experienced.

After they successfully complete the training, what will participants come away with?

With the deep insights into how attitudes and motivations shape the people who create our world, you will come away with a new outlook on success, and importantly, the skills in how to achieve it in yourself and your clients.

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