Would you rather have access to the next great idea or access to a great leader with a mediocre idea?
Bill Draper, world renowned venture capitalist, was once asked this question, “When evaluating companies, do you pay more attention to the idea or the leader?”
Considering the intense focus by entrepreneurs and investors for the next big idea, I think Mr. Drapers answer is telling.
He explained, “The Leader. Even if a product is wrong, a great, visionary leader will come up with another idea. During a presentation, I keep my eye on the top person, looking at how he interacts with his team, if he understands his audience, if he is the least bit unsure, or if he lacks information he should have had. Most of all, I am looking for judgment. Why did he make certain choices in life?”
Perhaps entrepreneurs should focus on leadership skills, sound judgment, and excellent decision making as their first priority. Then, and only then, does trying to find the next Great-Idea become a worthwhile endeavor.