This is one of the most important lessons I've learned the hard way over the years - "People do what you inspect, not what you expect."It doesn't matter if you hire people from MIT, Harvard, or an industry leader. Inspect their work. People used to managing blue collar workers know this; tech managers not as much.
If you haven't learned this already personally or through a mentor, take it to heart and commit it to memory. Why? If you are either the founder or senior member of a young company, you already have shown you are driven, expect a lot of yourself, and love the adrenaline rush that comes with creating something new. You probably believe that other people are equally motivated, intelligent and committed. This is the crux of the problem - most people are not naturally going to operate on the same level as you, and won't deliver at the same level as you'd expect. To be blunt, they do not have the same skin in the game as you do - it's your company, your idea, your big financial win if you are successful - it's your life. To them, it's a job - one they may really believe in, but fundamentally a job. This leads to decisions and work results that are sub-optimal - not exactly lazy, but human nature is such that most people take the shortest path, not the best one. But all is not lost. You can do many things that catalyze the behavior and results you need.
Deliver clear expectations, clarity and guidance. But above all, inspect the work and set high standards. In the beginning of each work relationship, set the expectation that you will review the work and do so. Be demanding. Note problems and expect them to correct it and not repeat the same sloppiness or mistakes. This accomplishes several things. It shows people you take their work seriously; that it matters. It also shows you will not tolerate anything less than excellence.
I've been fortunate enough to work with many people who've made their marks on the world: Larry Ellison at Oracle, Tom Seibel at Seibel Systems, and Pehong Chen at BroadVision to name a few. I don't idolize these folks, but I do respect what my association has taught me. During my first product review with Tom Seibel, then CEO at Gain Technology and later sold to Sybase, several of us presented our work or findings. Despite Seibel being known for his sales acumen, he dove into the details of everything, examining the product, assumptions, and our analytical thought process. Those whose effort and results were less than his expectations of excellence had a bad day. Indeed, it set the stage for all of us as to what we could expect in the future. All our work, all the time, was subject to scrutiny - you didn't want to disappoint and it was all important.
As people recognize this, it establishes a new set of patterns and behaviors, often ones they never had before. Yes, they will have some fear of the consequences of work that's below expectations because you do inspect the work. More importantly, they will take enormous pride in their work and strive to meet your high and demanding standards. Over time people earn your trust, but it usually takes longer than you think. Look at any successful business leader and you will find this culture. Yes, the "C" word. You have taken a huge step in creating a culture of excellence. Anything else and you are just wasting your time and your investors money.