Pick a Lead Singer It can be frustrating with so many personalities and opinions to have one voice to communicate for the company. Choosing one of the founders to handle the communications between the founder group and your lawyer can make it easier to focus on clear and concise messages and easier for your lawyer to understand and address the group’s concerns. This person doesn’t have to be the CEO or own a bigger share of the company, just a good messenger.
Put it on the List Ask your lawyer to prepare a short list or agenda in advance of calls or meetings and circulate it to the group by email (even if you’re sitting just a few feet away from each other). This will help target the information needed from the group, and give each person in the group the ability to consider his or her own opinions and ideas on an individual timetable and help avoid group noise.
Use “Reply All” Unapologetically We all get peeved about unnecessary “reply alls,” but there is a special place for this when working with a founder group. Allow your lead to be in the lead, but keeping everyone in the loop on key advice so they can read it straight from the source goes a long way. It helps avoid the need for certain members of the group to catch up in order to make decisions and helps build trust both amongst the founder group members but also with counsel by equal access to information.
Have A(nother) Meeting Take a quick pre-meeting with the entire group in advance of every call or meeting with your lawyer. You will save time and money in the long run if you don’t spend lawyer time to find out what each other is thinking. (Use the agenda you got from your lawyer for the pre-meeting!)
“Come to Jesus” Have your lawyer get the tough issues on the table for everyone to deal with. Good lawyers are able to diplomatically raise and explain points of contention to groups and steer the discussion to a productive outcome for everyone. Using your lawyer as the “bad guy” to have these discussions will avoid ill will building up later between members of the group, and while everyone may not be 100% happy with the outcome, the group can move on and get back to business.
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