A rookie startup CEO can be dangerous.

Here’s a strange trend that I am seeing in orthopedic startups right now…

First time CEOs who are not equipped for the journey.  

It turns out that many young professionals want to lead a startup. Often there is a sponsor who believes in the young individual. The sponsor may be the owner, or have financing clout, or may have board influence. The sponsor waves the magic wand and the novice professional is suddenly the CEO of a new startup. 

Inexperienced CEOs are dangerous because they don’t have the right skills. They haven’t actually built anything. They haven’t had to make a payroll, or deliver revenue, or fight off a patent lawsuit.

In a best case scenario, a rookie first-time CEO is playing with other people’s dreams, other people’s money and with individual careers. In a worse case scenario, this is just leadership malpractice.

100% of startups will hit “the wall” for various reasons – lack of funding, technology hurdle, faulty regulatory, wrong team, bad timing, etc. When the startup hits a wall, the novice CEO doesn’t have the tools for company survival. They haven’t put in the training and preparation for the tough times that will come during the startup journey. 

It’s like taking an elevator to the top of Mount Everest. They don’t deserve to be there. Once they get up there they are not prepared and they will die from cold and lack of oxygen.

Entrepreneurs need to learn how to climb mountains before they can really lead a startup.