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From Start-Up to Grown-Up

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From Start-Up to Grown-Up

Grow Your Leadership to Grow Your Business

Kogan Page,

15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Leading coach explains how to manage yourself, your employees, your company, your board and your culture.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Renowned CEO coach Marshall Goldsmith refers to author Alisa Cohn as the world’s leading start-up coach, and her book will show you why. Cohn’s award-winning text – winner of the 2022 Independent Press Award and the 2023 International Book Award, both for coverage of entrepreneurship and small business – offers in-depth advice on the ins and outs of starting a company.  She tells new leaders how to manage themselves, their employees, their firm, their board and their culture. Cohn helps you envision and create a corporate culture built on an inspiring founding story,sound management, regular feedback and the cooperation of your board, but she warns, “leadership is an unnatural act.”


Your firm’s founding story can inspire and engage your workforce. 

Many times, the story of a company’s founders becomes an essential building block in their firm’s culture and galvanizes everyone who works for them. Your founding story can help the people in your workforce feel proud of your company’s purpose, its ideals and the way it does business. 

For example, consider the dynamic founding story of AirBNB. Founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky joined together to start a novel – sometimes zany – business. They observed that when big conferences suddenly hit cities, hotel rooms often became scarce. They decided to offer visitors temporary lodging on airbeds in private living rooms. At this time, this was a novel business concept. The founders offered their customers airport pickups, breakfast and local tours. Still, AirBNB had a touch-and-go period as it got off the ground. 

To raise necessary operating capital and to cover $20,000 of their combined credit card debt, Gebbia and Chesky offered free breakfast cereal to guests at a political convention, touting the choice between “Obama O’s ...

About the Author

Alisa Cohn is the executive coach for Cornell University’s New York City tech incubator. She hosts the From Start-up to Grown-up podcast and is a frequent public speaker. The Thinkers50/Marshall Goldsmith Global Coaches Awards named her the Top Startup Coach and the #1 Global Guru for Startups. For her “5 Scripts for Delicate Conversations,” see

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