* Environmental factorsdetermine the external opportunities or constraints which start-ups
must recognize and react to. They involve considering whereand whensuccess occurs.
* Behavioral factorsare the specific action steps taken in order to reach success. They involve
what, specifically, must be done or accomplished in order to succeed.
* Capabilitiesrelate to the mental maps, plans or strategies that lead to success. They direct how
actions are selected and monitored.
* Beliefs and valuesprovide the reinforcement that supports or inhibits particular capabilities
and actions. They relate to whya particular path is taken and the deeper motivations which drive
people to act or persevere.
* Identity factorsrelate to people's sense of their role or mission. These factors are a function of
whoa person or group perceives themselves to be.
* Vision and purposerelate to people's view of the larger system of which they are a part.
These factors involve for whom orfor whata particular action step or path has been taken (the
While all of the levels of success factors are important, vision is one of the most paramount. The
aspirations, insights, experience and vision of the founder of an emerging growth technology company
create the initial foundation for building the typical start-up company from conception to IPO. If you
ask investors why they have chosen to invest in a particular company, it is often on the basis
of "intangibles" such as the leader's vision or passion. Investors know that technologies will change,
markets will change, team members will change; the constant will be the leader's vision.
There are distinctive skills and abilities that a founder must develop in order to properly promote
his or her company vision. They include the ability to communicate a vision so as to attract and choose
management and key employees who can share a passion for the vision and who can become
committed to making this vision a reality. Typically, strong technology alone will not make a company
successful for the long term. The development of a solid understanding of the future challenges facing
a prospectively venture-backed start-up will more likely determine the success of a new company.
Thus, vision is also essential in order to be able to navigate to accommodate global marketplace,
foresee changes and make adjustments, and to anticipate competition.
One of the most important set of skills required in a changing world are the skills of leadership. In the
emerging view of leadership in the new economy, leaders are not 'bosses' or 'commanders'; rather
leaders are people who are committed to "creating a world to which people want to belong."This
commitment demands a special set of models and abilities in order to effectively and ecologically
manifest the visions which guide those committed to change. Rather than 'power', true leadership is a
result of influence, congruence and integrity. It involves managing relationships and interacting and
communicating within an organization, network or social system to move towards a vision of a
rewarding future. From this perspective, leadershipcan be defined as the capability to: "express a
vision, influence others to achieve results, encourage team cooperation, and be an example."
Defined in this way, leadership ability provides added valueto any fundamental management ability.
In other words, strengthening leadership ability can help any individual to improve his or her capacity
to achieve results and reach personal or organizational outcomes.
Successful leadership ability requires a variety of skills which address the overall 'problem space'
of leadership--i.e., the ability to involve others toward reaching goals within a system.