Achieving synergy with a co-founder necessitates the art of discerning when to acquiesce and when to assert. The correlation between martial arts and expeditious company growth may not be empirically established, yet for Ranil Piyaratna, the co-creator of Human Bees, a staffing enterprise based in Lathrop, California, that secured the top rank on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list, martial arts offered invaluable lessons. Piyaratna recounts that during the inception of their company in 2017, both he and his co-founder, Geetesh Goyal, were firmly convinced that an in-depth understanding of each other’s domains was imperative for sound decision-making. In instances where a salesperson’s performance faltered, protracted debates ensued, depleting precious resources.
However, the sustainability of this approach came into question as the company experienced rapid expansion in 2019. This juncture prompted Piyaratna, aged 44, to seek an alternative paradigm for co-leadership. The solution emerged from the realm of tai chi, a meditative martial art that he had diligently practiced since his late twenties.
“Incorporating insights from tai chi, I acquired the art of yielding and discerning when to stand firm,” he reflects. “In the context of a business partnership, it is imperative to selectively engage in conflicts, choosing the opportune moments to concede when one party exhibits fervor for a particular stance.”
Ultimately, consensus was reached between the co-founders, with the 45-year-old Goyal assuming the mantle of a bona fide CEO, overseeing sales and recruitment, while Piyaratna undertook the responsibilities of a CFO, steering financial and back-office decisions. Evidently, their collaborative efforts in refining their partnership, which Goyal describes as embodying the principles of ‘yin and yang,’ have yielded substantial dividends. Following their inclusion in the Inc. 5000, the company’s sales figures surged to an unprecedented zenith, reaching a remarkable $100 million milestone in 2022.