How much debate and disagreement is there in your startup?
Does your CEO confine people to walls, inside of silos for each department?
If you responded with a "Yes" or "Sometimes" then listen to this:
Startups that succeed are the ones that encourage open, aggressive talk, discussion, debate and -- yes, anger -- as issues and problems are encountered and dealt with.
Startups are not about controlling wild people or slave-driving hired help.
New enterprises are about encouraging innovation, creativity and determination that overcome walls, barriers, surprises and approaching disasters.
CEOs who create a culture that operates with open debate and disagreement will generate superior results. The rest will die of mediocrity as they run into overwhelming competition generated by innovations stimulated by open debate.
This is especially challenging for Asians who were schooled in obedience to superiors. But when they join a startup whose culture is open to criticizing the boss, they are quickly transformed into creative thinkers. I've been watching this happen to a Korean-Chinese startup I've been coaching. The results are world-class and a joy to watch.
A tip for CEOs: ask your board of directors to probe how open your company culture is to criticizing the boss. There are several ways to do it, just do it. Then you will not be the last to know when you have a serious problem of a closed company (hours before you get fired).
BOTTOM LINE: One of your most precious assets in a startup is innovation. Innovation comes from lack of fear when criticizing other employees, but especially the boss, the CEO. If you, the CEO, encourage that, your company will tackle the big problems faster and more creatively, when they pop up (and you can count on the bad ones surprising you, month after month). When you learn how to do this, you'll add an amazing power to your unfair advantage.