THE CULTURE OF AN EARLY-STAGE COMPANY REFLECTS THE PERSONALITY OF THE CEO, and the best way to build a strong team and culture is to abide by the well-known quote, “To thine own self be true.” The CEO should determine what attributes are most important for the leadership team, both individually and collectively. There will be trade-offs in experiences and skillsets, interpersonal skills, personal/family life orientation, and other factors that must be considered in building the initial team. The CEO must also consider that early-stage companies do not train people and do not have the time or resources for mistakes. The CEO needs to fully understand the capabilities of the management team members that are hired, but also to recognize what these individuals do not know and find these skills in other hires or consultants.
KENNETH MOCH has 30 years of experience building, financing, and leading biomedical companies. He has been president and CEO of five life sciences companies, most recently with Cognition Therapeutics.