I am one of four partners in a recently-launched, market-specific information portal. We are making great progress since our launch, and are meeting all of our projection metrics.
The problem is one of our partners. Although he was fundamental is building much of our initial concept, he now adds little to the equation, and holds back the organization with negative energy and constant battling.
Outside of the partners, we don`t yet have any permanent staff. So, all work must be distributed between the four partners. When work is assigned to Mr. Problem, he is a "chronic disappointer" and rarely gets the job done. As deadlines loom, one of the remaining three must jump in, which often creates additional costs or hurts the company in some measurable way. Even when faced with concrete examples of issues that have occurred, he refuses to take responsibility, acknowledge the issue, or take corrective action.
Worse yet, he has repeatedly threatened the organization and his partners. Whenever `things don`t go his way`, he sulks, threatens to `quit`, and/or threatens to call in all of the investors to a meeting (presumably to have them support his cause). Frankly, we`re thinking that calling in the investors at this point may be a good idea. Although most of these investors have a longer history with Mr. Problem than our company, we`re confident that they would quickly see how much of a loose cannon he is, and how he is placing their investment at risk. It`s important to note that we`re formed as an LLC. The investors, as Class B members, get no actual vote - but they`re certainly able to voice opinions and lobby for a particular vote.
I am concerned that this individual may:
- Freeze up our cash accounts, to which he has access, and on which only one signature is required for a transaction.
- Cause a disruption on our website. Although our Operating Agreement indicates that the url belongs to the company, I`m afraid that he could take a threatening action, because his name as listed as the owner of the url.
- Make-good on his threat to sue. He has absolutely no basis for any claim, but that doesn`t keep him from initiating a frivolous lawsuit that could bury the company with legal fees.
- Bad-mouth the company to investors, causing ill will that would require a lot of time to correct.
- Suffer a serious mental break that will cause a more acute internal corporate problem. I truly believe that he has some psychological issues that prevent him from seeing how much he is hurting his own company.
I am firmly confident of the tremendous success in our future. However, I don`t want to fight my way through this one individual. Any advice anyone can offer? I would love to hear suggestions on how I can help this person see how destructive he is being, or at least how I can limit the amount of damage he can do. Right now, Mr. Problem is the LLC`s manager, but I would have the support of the other 2 partners were I to want to replace him with someone else in that capacity.