Founder's Syndrome and the WWE - Wrestling Forum: WWE, AEW, New Japan, Indy Wrestling, Women of Wrestling Forums

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Founder's Syndrome and the WWE

A poster some time ago made mention of the term "Founder's Syndrome" in relation to WWE. I looked it up and found some interesting parallels to what has been reported about working in the WWE over 15 years:


An organization suffering from founder's syndrome typically presents many of the following symptoms:

1. The organization is strongly identified with the person or personality of the founder.

2. The founder makes all decisions, big and small, without a formal process or input from others. Decisions are made in crisis mode, with little forward planning. Staff meetings are held generally to rally the troops, get status reports, and assign tasks. There is little meaningful strategic development, or shared executive agreement on objectives with limited or a complete lack of professional development. Typically, there is little organizational infrastructure in place, and what is there is not used correctly. There is no succession plan.

3. Key staff and board members are typically selected by the founder and are often friends and colleagues of the founder. Their role is to support the founder, rather than to lead the mission. Staff may be chosen due to their personal loyalty to the founder rather than skills, organizational fit, or experience. Board members may be under-qualified, under-informed or intimidated and will typically be unable to answer basic questions without checking first.

4. Professionally trained and talented recruits, often recruited to resolve difficulties in the organization, find that they are not able to contribute in an effective and professional way.

5. The founder responds to increasingly challenging issues by accentuating the above, leading to further difficulties. Anyone who challenges this cycle will be treated as a disruptive influence and will be ignored, ridiculed or removed. The working environment will be increasingly difficult with decreasing public trust. The organization becomes increasingly reactive, rather than proactive. Alternatively, the founder or the board may recognize the issue and take effective action to move beyond it as outlined below.

6. The founder begins to believe his/her own Press/PR

7. The founder becomes increasingly paranoid as delegation is required, and/or business management needs are greater than their training or experience

To point four, I've read articles in the past on how difficult it is for WWE to retain executives. Here's one:

The question is, does WWE truly face this problem?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 08:33 PM
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Re: Founder's Syndrome and the WWE

Take one look at the state of the company OP.

It's obvious it has it, so why even post a thread about?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 08:41 PM
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Re: Founder's Syndrome and the WWE

Yep. That sounds like WWE in a nutshell.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 08:47 PM
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Re: Founder's Syndrome and the WWE

It sounds like it on the surface, but remember that you aren't part of the organization and confirmation bias is a thing.

To better answer the question, what evidence is there against WWE suffering from Founder's Syndrome? Then compare.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 08:47 PM
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Re: Founder's Syndrome and the WWE

Scarily accurate,
At least from an outside perspective.

"If I wasn't president of the United States, I would like to be George Hackenschmidt"

Theodore Roosevelt
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 09:06 PM
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Haven't seen it referred by this name before but yes this does describe the wwe
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2017, 09:10 PM
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Re: Founder's Syndrome and the WWE

Founder's syndrome is a real thing. I've seen it in business several times. Often if a founder's company is successful it will eventually grow to the point where the founder must relinquish some control for the company to grow. However, that often doesn't happen and the company fails as the company (and the founder) can't get past founder's syndrome.

Sometimes, there is almost a size limit. I personally know a guy that is on his 4th company. He has had 3 that have failed. He oves to have his fingers in everything. But, he can't change enough to effectively run a company of over 100 (give or take a few) employees. Every time he has tried to push past that limit he has failed and the company has went out of business. He hits every point in the "Founder's syndrome" above. I would love to say he has learned, but that is only partly true. He has learned his limits. He's had the current company for over 10 years now and is quite content to hover around that 100 employee mark. He makes a nice living and doesn't want to give up the control it would take to move past that.

Its a tough time in any company when you basically have to fire the founder for the company to move forward. Its tough for people to change. Its tough for someone to give up control of what they view is "their company", "their baby". But ultimately it has to happen. It is very, very rare for a founder to be able to grow a company into a global brand. Zuckerberg is one with Facebook. Vince has done it with the WWE. It takes very rare talent, drive, and ambition to be able to that.

It does seem that WWE is at a tipping point in many ways. That Vince has taken it this far is amazing. Last time I looked at WWEs statements in any depth the loss of Vince was listed as risk to the company - ie something that would cause damage to it because of how much stuff he runs and does.

Vince does seem to realize slowly, grudgingly that he can't run it forever. But its almost like he's creating this environment where HHH/Steph, Shane, Dunn, etc and others are competing against other for power. Again not uncommon for siblings and top officials to fight for who will run the empire when the emperor passes. That transfer of power is another place where many companies fail.
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