Founders nurturing their startups through incubation shouldn’t confuse social intelligence, also known as emotional intelligence (EI), for charisma—a trait often associated with storytellers like Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson and the late Steve Jobs of Apple. Mustering persistence and patience, byproducts of emotional maturity, helps more than charm.
Audiences quickly forgave the young Romani guitarist’s frequent late arrival at concerts. His arpeggios, decomposed chords performed at breakneck speed, fluttered with the grace of hummingbirds. Phrasing, tempos, melodic variations and a stream of chromatic ornaments varied each time the virtuoso “Django” strummed a tune.
An incubation platform mitigates risk by favoring learning. It allows the founding team to spin the startup’s learning loop, delivering intelligence about the offering and market. And it facilitates co-creation with customers and partners, helping to converge their shared understanding of the venture’s mission.
Even the most capable early-stage entrepreneurs winding through incubation can find cooperating and co-creating with co-founders, lead investors, strategic partners and early customers challenging. Often, the problem is that we simply don’t hear each other. We miss telling details of critical intelligence: needs and desires or inhibitors and motivators.