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My cofounder is quitting our company. How do we tell our employees?

My cofounder is quitting our company. How do we tell our employees?
[Photo: mouu007/iStock]

Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at dearfounder@fastcompany.com.

Q. My cofounder and I have come to the decision that although we like each other, we are not able to work together. My cofounder has decided he will leave and go do something else. I will stay on and lead the company. How soon should we announce this?

—Cofounder of a seed-stage software startup

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Dear Founder,

You have enough problems between you that one of you is going to leave. I’m pretty certain that your team has probably seen evidence of the issues.

Given that, finding a way to get this done well but quickly is important.

It’s time to deal. Rip the bandage off and get to healing the team. You cannot walk around on eggshells.

You think nothing has been noticed or the team doesn’t know? I promise people can sense when things are wrong and tensions are high. This puts your whole company at risk.

Work with your cofounder on the internal messaging around the decision. As I often say, things don’t get better with age.

Then, announce your decision to the team. Tell them it’s not the end of the world. Show them the path you have to make things better.

Everyone will be relieved. AND they will work hard to help right the ship.

Communicate the situation, articulate the plan, and rally the troops to move ahead together. Good luck!

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