Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead: Achieving Lasting Progress with Systems and Equity Split Among Co-Founders

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Aug 06, 2023

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Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead: Achieving Lasting Progress with Systems and Equity Split Among Co-Founders

Setting goals has been ingrained in our minds as the key to success. We are told that if we have a clear goal in mind, we can achieve anything. However, upon closer inspection, we can see that setting goals may not be as effective as we once thought. In fact, there are several problems with focusing solely on goals.

Problem #1: Winners and losers have the same goals. When we look at successful individuals, we often attribute their achievements to the goals they set. But the truth is, both winners and losers can have the same goals. It's not the goals themselves that determine success, but rather the systems they follow.

Problem #2: Achieving a goal is only a momentary change. Have you ever set a goal, achieved it, and then found yourself back to square one shortly after? This is because achieving a goal only brings temporary change. What truly matters is the systems we have in place that lead to consistent progress. As Bill Walsh, three-time Super Bowl winner, once said, "The score takes care of itself." Goals set the direction, but systems drive progress.

Problem #3: Goals restrict your happiness. When we focus solely on achieving a specific goal, we create a binary mindset - either we succeed and feel satisfied, or we fail and feel like a disappointment. But life is not that simple. There are countless paths to success, and restricting our satisfaction to one scenario is unnecessary. Instead of fixating on a single goal, we should focus on building systems that bring us joy and fulfillment.

Problem #4: Goals are at odds with long-term progress. Many individuals experience a "yo-yo" effect when it comes to achieving goals. They reach their desired outcome, only to revert to old habits shortly after. This is because a goal-oriented mindset lacks sustainability. True long-term progress is achieved through goal-less thinking, where systems are designed to consistently drive success.

Now that we understand the limitations of goal-setting, let's explore another area where equity splits among co-founders can pose challenges.

When it comes to starting a business, equity splits among co-founders can be a contentious issue. Founders often make the mistake of dividing equity based on early work, without considering the long-term value they bring to the company. This approach fails to account for the fact that it takes years to build a highly valuable company.

Investors also pay close attention to equity splits, as it reflects how the CEO values their co-founders. If one co-founder is given a significantly smaller percentage, it raises questions about their contribution and impact on the business.

In light of these challenges, my advice for splitting equity among co-founders may be controversial, but it has proven successful. I believe in equal or close to equal equity splits among founding teams. If you're not willing to give your partner an equal share, it might be a sign that you've chosen the wrong partner. Equal equity splits not only foster a sense of trust and commitment among co-founders but also send a positive signal to potential investors.

To summarize, instead of fixating on goals, we should focus on building systems that drive progress and long-term success. Similarly, when it comes to equity splits among co-founders, equal or close to equal splits should be the standard. Now, let's explore three actionable pieces of advice to help implement these principles:

  • 1. Shift your focus from goals to systems: Rather than setting specific goals, focus on creating systems that lead to consistent progress. Develop habits and routines that align with your desired outcomes. Remember, it's the systems you follow that truly determine your results.
  • 2. Prioritize collaboration and trust in equity splits: When dividing equity among co-founders, prioritize equal or close to equal splits. This fosters a sense of trust, commitment, and fairness among the founding team. It also sends a positive signal to potential investors about the value each co-founder brings to the table.
  • 3. Embrace long-term thinking: Avoid the "yo-yo" effect by adopting a goal-less mindset. Instead of fixating on short-term goals, focus on sustainable systems that drive long-term progress. This approach will lead to consistent growth and prevent reverting to old habits after achieving a goal.

In conclusion, setting goals may not be as effective as we once thought. To achieve lasting progress, we need to shift our focus to building systems that drive consistent growth. Similarly, when it comes to equity splits among co-founders, equal or close to equal splits should be the standard. By implementing these principles and taking actionable steps, we can create a path to success that is sustainable and fulfilling.

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