INSIGHTS

Why Entrepreneurs Should Care About Personality When Choosing a Cofounder

AND HOW YOUR TRAITS PLAY A ROLE IN BUSINESS

The “entrepreneurial spirit” is made up of some very strong personality traits – including creativity, passion, risk-taking and adaptability. But, there is still a lot of variance in personality amongst entrepreneurs, so when looking for a cofounder, you mustn’t forget to test their personality. While entrepreneurs and business leaders alike have long recognized the importance of intelligence, skills, and experience in achieving their goals, personality traits have been left to the wayside in lieu of the aforementioned qualities. By understanding their own personality assets and limitations, business professionals can capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Moreover, testing for personality traits in the process of finding a cofounder can help entrepreneurs identify candidates who possess the traits and characteristics required for success in the partnership. In this article, we will explore what personality really influences in business, and how.

As is common at The Cofounder’s Hub, we will be using the Personality Assessment as a baseline for personality assessment, using the 27 traits to gauge personality and determine how it affects business.

For reference, here are the 27 personality traits and a quick definition.

Adaptability: How readily an individual can adjust to changes in their environment.

Charisma: How adept an individual is to managing social situations.

Humour: The ability and ease of spreading mirth.

Attention-seeking:  The ease of taking center stage in a social setting.

Sensation-seeking: The desire to engage in risky or dangerous activity.

Sociability: The willingness to engage and talk with others.

Conformity: The compliance of standards.

Introspection: The examination of oneself and one’s thoughts.

Art Appreciation: The interest in works of art and artistic qualities.

Creativity: The ability to come up with new and original ideas.

Intellect: The ability to grasp new concepts.

Conservatism: The tendency to support conservative political parties, or religiosity.

Compassion: The concern for the wellbeing of others.

Trust: The ability to take others at their word.

Honesty: How willing an individual is to lie, cheat or take advantage of others for personal gain.

Authoritarianism: Attitude towards rules and laws.

Easy-Goingness: One’s preferred pace of lifestyle.

Perfectionism: High expectations and desire for perfection.

Order: Tendencies towards organization, predictability, and cleanliness.

Impulsivity: The tendency to act on a whim.

Industry: Diligence and perseverance.

Emotional Expressiveness: The degree in which a person is comfortable sharing their feelings, emotions and perspectives with others.

Well-Being: The tendency to feel good about oneself and one’s life.

Self Control: One’s control over one’s short-term desires.

Emotional Stability: The ability to navigate daily stressors and bounce back quickly.

Anxiety: Feelings of uneasiness and fear.

Irritability: The ease with which someone is rattled or bothered by their environment.

THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

While decision making is normally attributed to logic or intellect, personality actually plays a critical role in it as well. Personality will determine proclivities, ideas, comfort level and even how out-of-the-box someone is willing to go. So how exactly can personality affect the decision-making process?

Personality will determine how risk averse you are. Traits such as Anxiety, Sensation-seeking, Impulsivity, and even Authoritarianism can play a role in your potential cofounder’s comfort taking risks.

Character traits will also determine what kind of experience your potential partner has had in the past, which greatly influences decision-making. Their personality determined what jobs they had, what career and educational paths they have chosen, if they have been comfortable working front of house or back, and what professional route they’re taking now. If you’re looking for a cofounder with a certain experience, you can bet that a certain kind of personality will be attached to those qualifications! Take a look at their Sociability, Charisma, Intellect, and Industry score and see if it aligns with their experience.

If you need someone who is willing to risk their cash, aim for higher Sensation Seeking and Impulsivity, although you must also consider the other aspects of what those combined traits lead to.

Personality is going to play a key role in how your potential cofounder will handle the business, from the every-day decisions to the big moves. It determines their stress-levels and irritability, as well as their optimism, motivation and work ethic.

Business strategies are heavily determined by the founder’s personalities, and play a huge role in company success. Just take a look at some of the greats: Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla all have had strong personalities commandeering the business strategy. Those companies would not have risen to their current standpoint if their founders did not have a specific type of trait make-up, so you need to make sure you’re heavily basing your decision on your potential cofounder’s personality.

IDEAS

Ideas are one of the most personality-dependent features in a business context. They come straight from your mind, with your experience as context and your judgment as a guideline. This means that your traits will directly determine their shape and color. It’ll determine how they’re generated, as in: at what pace, in what context and how often they’ll actually be seen through. Personality will also determine how creative and innovative the ideas are. Keep an eye on Creativity, Conformity, Adaptability and Industry to determine what kind of ideas a potential cofounder could come up with, and if they’re likely to see it through.

LEADERSHIP STYLE

What kind of leadership style would you like for your future business? Take a look at your own, and your potential cofounder’s, personality traits to glean insight into what kind of leader you’ll be. It will also help you predict what kind of company culture you’d most likely create while being a leader. Look at Charisma, Humor, Sociability and Compassion scores to find out what kind of leadership style you and your potential cofounder will have.

GOALS AND DREAMS

What are their goals and dreams? Depending on your potential cofounder’s personality type, they will either shoot for the stars or be happy enough having a business that is moderately successful. Where do you stand? It’s important to make sure that you and your potential cofounder’s visions are aligned, or you might find yourself in different pages in the future. Assess potential misalignments in your goals and dreams with scores for Industry, Sensation Seeking, EasyGoingness and Conformity.

RELATIONSHIPS

Your personality will also determine what kind of relationship you have with those around you, such as employees, colleagues and even investors. If you are planning to have a business that requires a lot of networking and pitching, Sociability, Humour and Charisma will be great indicators as to whether you or your potential cofounder will be up for the job. If that is not the case for your business, think about what kind of personality would be beneficial for the office and company culture. What kind of boss/employee relationship will you have with your employees? What kind of boss/employee relationship would complement your own?

COMMUNICATION STYLE

Think about your potential cofounder’s personality traits and how they interact with your own to gauge what your communication style will be like. Make sure to pay attention to Charisma, Sociability, Emotional Expressiveness, Wellbeing, Anxiety, Emotional Stability, Introspection, Compassion, Trust, and Honesty. Those traits will directly influence your potential business partner’s communication style, either making them more closed off and wary, or open and willing to work through issues. Don’t only think about the traits in a vacuum, but also think about how they might interact with your own. For example, if you’re highly irritable, you might not want to have a cofounder with a low score in Emotional Stability, as that can lead to conflicts.

FINANCES

Your potential cofounder’s personality is also going to affect how they view finances. A high score in Anxiety, paired with a low score in Sensation-seeking and Wellbeing, for example, might make someone frugal and anxious about spending money. If you need someone who is willing to risk their cash, aim for higher Sensation Seeking and Impulsivity, although you must also consider the other aspects of what those combined traits lead to.

These are some of the ways personality traits shape business-people and why you should heavily consider personality when searching for a business partner. If you have not already done so, make your way to The Cofounder’s Self Assessment to learn more about how personality will impact your business and your relationship with a potential business partner.

The Cofounder's
handbook

An A-Z guide for those in, or searching for, a business partnership.

The Cofounder’s Handbook provides insight, practical advice, and proven tips from actual real-world cofounders on how to build and maintain a rewarding partnership.

Have something to say?  Let us know!

Send us a message and let us know how we can be of help.