09/06/2013 10:37 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Dual Journeys of a Founder


If you are a founder, you will have to go through two journeys -- one is internal and the other is external. They look to be conflicting with each other at the outset but you will soon see that they are interrelated. Actually, this is true for anyone who want to run with an initiative.

Those journeys are:
1. From Fiction to Facts
2. From Facts to Fiction

Let us explore both of them in a bit more detail:

1. From Fiction to Facts

This is an internal journey as everything starts with something fictional -- a dream. Unfortunately, most dreams remain just there, as dreams. It is the founder's job flesh out the fiction to create facts.

This is not simple for many reasons.

First, unless the fiction part is slightly out of reach, there is no fun in pursuing that path. So, in most cases turning that fiction to facts is not easy.

Second, in parallel to the external challenges of execution, this is where the founder has to stretch and rise up to the challenge. This is where he or she "becomes" that someone who can turn the fiction to facts -- that dream to reality.

Third, only the founder really knows all the resources he or she can collect and coordinate to flesh out the "fiction" to turn it into facts.

Any founder has to win in this internal journey. But that's not enough.

2. From Facts to Fiction

This is an external journey. Any founder has to paint a picture or tell a story that is fictional as the facts are still being worked out. He or she has to share the vision and dream vividly to enlist support for that journey.

This is not simple for many reasons.

First, the fictional part has to be an extension of the current facts. If the story (fiction) is too big of a stretch, nobody is going to believe it and hence there will be little support to the venture.

Second, the founder soon realizes that it is not enough to execute but it is equally important to tell a compelling story to the external world. If the founder does not have the necessary skills to craft a story, it is his or her responsibility to find an ally who can do that job.

Third, the world has to see that the facts are catching up with the fiction that the founder is presenting else any kind of support that was there will start waning.

Both Journeys are Important

The internal journey from fiction to facts is all about execution.

The external journey from facts to fiction is all about storytelling.

One is not more important than the other. Both play an important role and the founder has to master the skills required to make the most of these journeys. Alternatively, the founder has to recruit an ally who will fill the gap to ensure that both the internal and external journeys get equal attention.