Just because you are a successful entrepreneur doesn’t mean you like change. You kicked and clawed your way to reasonable entrepreneurial success by being consistent, reliable and steadfast. It’s worked before, it will work again, right?
So why change now?
Picture this: you’re a successful entrepreneur who has grown his business from scratch and currently employing 100 or so folks. The Devil is in the Details and you’re the devil! You are a hands on kinda guy, you know every aspect of your business, and you make sure everything meets your high standards before it goes out the door. Great, right? Maybe not.
Letting Go is Growth
When you were smaller, say a staff of 20, you could manage every detail. You prided yourself in the cohesiveness of the group and having lunch together every day to touch base. You’re team looked to you for direction and you were always there. Fast forward a year or two, lunch with a hundred staff members isn’t feasible or productive. You’re frustrated. Things are falling through the cracks. If only the staff….
And the staff that used to adore you, not so much anymore. You are the bottleneck. You’re too busy – getting to see you is impossible, which means things get held up, clients get pissed and your staff bears the brunt of those frustrations. The very thing that made you a successful entrepreneur – that attention to detail – is now working against you.
We see this time and time again with our clients. While the organization has grown in size, the management team remains the founder. A founder who is typically overwhelmed, overworked and frustrated. This wasn’t what he dreamed of when he was building his dream.
And that’s not even the worst part. Being stuck in all the details of your business means you have no time for big picture things like strategy and vision.
Here are some tips to letting go –
- Hire the right people and let them do their jobs– Often we hire great people and still run from the founder’s perspective. Let your team shine, let them fail, let them learn. But most importantly, listen. Your team is on the front line, they are closest to your customers – they may have insights you may not have even thought of or have long ago forgotten.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate– If it’s not about growing the business, then it should be delegated. I try to keep the question “Is this best use of my time” constantly in the back of my mind.
- Check in– Sometimes, new leaders go to the other extreme. From micro-managing to complete freedom. Wrong. Check in – what worked? what didn’t? what could be improved? Debriefing current projects can offer a great coaching/learning opportunity. Remember – it’s not about criticizing, it’s about working together to find better solutions going forward.
- Support, nurture and coach by example– As a leader, your job is to inspire your staff to deliver their best. That’s a big ask and you need to make sure you are demonstrating the same commitment. Sometimes new managers struggle in their new roles – what can you offer them in means of support? Have you identified a professional development path for your team members? how will you support them in their new roles?
I get that it’s scary to let go. As entrepreneurs, we are used to figuring things out and delivering on that. Handing that off to be a subordinate seems unimaginable.
That was then, this is now. As a leader your job is to motivate, develop and support your staff – so they can be the best they can be.
If you truly want your organization to grow to the next level, you have to let go.
We specialize in helping organizations grow – whether it’s the entrepreneur launching a new venture or a successful business looking to expand into new markets – he offers executives the support necessary to transform great ideas into even better companies.
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