One common concern of parents these days is that children grow up too fast. But sometimes it seems as if children don’t get the space to grow up at all; they just become adept at mimicking the habits of adulthood. As Hart’s research shows, children used to gradually take on responsibilities, year by year. They crossed the road, went to the store; eventually some of them got small neighborhood jobs. Their pride was wrapped up in competence and independence, which grew as they tried and mastered activities they hadn’t known how to do the previous year. But these days, middle-class children, at least, skip these milestones. They spend a lot of time in the company of adults, so they can talk and think like them, but they never build up the confidence to be truly independent and self-reliant.

Being a good manager means making honest and fast decisions about what strengths and weaknesses an organization has. No single structure or style is best. If it were, every large, successful company would be organized in the same way. Nor will every employee or founder equally support the style the CEO chooses. So make hard choices early, when the team is small, the focus is on shipping, and people know and trust each other.