Capability and sensibility – a powerful combination

Start–ups are extremely interesting to run. You get to do what you love, and, if you are employed in one, the possibilities and opportunities are endless.

Of the many reasons that make start–ups so fun and interesting is the constant tension between the opposites – internal vs. external, short term vs. long term, and investment vs. saving, to name a few. In large companies, they do not pose much of a problem because the responsibility for these ways of thinking is spread out over multiple business units. In start–ups, they usually fall on the shoulders of the founders.

One of the most gripping tensions is the one between your capability and sensibility as a founder. You talents and resources make up your capabilities, and the way you see the world makes up your sensibilities. The trick is getting the right combination. Your success cannot be deterred if you have an unlikely combination of the two. If you have the right sensibilities, but lack the capabilities, you will end up with brilliant visionary ideas that will fail for the lack of proper execution. If you have the right capabilities, but lack the sensibilities, you will end up creating something the market does not want, or does not need. Get both right, and you can rule the market.

Being an experienced entrepreneur has its advantages and disadvantages. Given your age and experience, you are likely to have a number of obligations outside your start–up. Also, you sensibilities might become calcified and might not be as receptive as before. This is where you will have to be smart about it and counter balance it.  You will require a greater self – awareness, and the wisdom to choose the market that will match your sensibilities, and get hold of co–founders who will complement your capabilities.

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