Making The Transition From Business Founder To Executive
The job of a business’s owner who is intent on getting the business that he or she founded some years ago to the next level, is far too demanding for any one person to execute without having the right team of qualified individuals that are capable of handling their specific tasks.
Growing an entrepreneurially established business into an organization that plans to be successful in today’s complex and competitive business environment cannot solely depend on the personal skills of the owner, and needs to be able to accommodate additional team members with a range of relevant skills. With growth of a business, not all the skills required at can be expected to found in the founder or current business owner.
Think instead of the founder as someone that started a small musical band and is envisioning to grow into a philharmonic orchestra. He needs to find the best musicians of the needed instruments and also transition personally into a conductor. Someone who identifies and nurtures talent and works through others and coordinates them in order to accomplish the expected results or strategic goals.
If the business founder wants to become the conductor, one section of the “orchestra” may comprise of the needed accounting and financial skills eventually led by a CFO, while others who can provide human resources, logistics, IT, and so on. The point is that the business’s founder, regardless of how gifted, cannot possibly solely know and cover everything that needs to be covered.
Most entrepreneurs or business founders have healthy egos, but the successful ones are able to assess their own limits. As confident as they may be in their abilities and what they know, they are secure enough to surround themselves with the best talents that they can find, understanding that as conductor they cannot possible master and play every instrument in the orchestra; but to develop a good understanding of each musicians’ aptitude to the maximum of their potential and keep them well coordinated.
The founder’s job is to help determine and launch a culture that focuses on growing enthusiastic champions at every level. That means identification of talents at every level of their company and outside sources so that individuals are equipped not to only fulfill their own career goals but the organization’s strategic goals. Here’s a brief overview of how small to medium sized business owners and founders can perform this critical work:
Every move the owners make is thoroughly scrutinized by their employees. They have to consciously send a consistent message, loud and clear through their actions and words, about the defined values and objectives of their company. The most powerful, effective leaders today, whether founders, owners, presidents or CEOs, work through others—empowering them, inspiring them, and enabling them to contribute to the best of their abilities in ways that align with larger expressed organizational objectives.
The following is a 20-minute video of a lecture by Dr. Travis Bradberry, the co-author of a famous management book with the above title. I strongly suggest watching it a few times by anyone who is aspiring to increase his/her management and leadership skills:
Self Management is the most important part of CEO Coaching
As a CEO, the key to improving your management skills, is to start with learning how to manage yourself. Mahatma Gandhi referred to self management as “If you want to change the world, you must begin with yourself.” If you cannot master the art of managing yourself, especially your ’emotions’, you will most probably not succeed at managing the people that report to you efficiently which can result in loss of key talents, and trickling down of the problem to all levels of your organization. The process of changing oneself personally is practically impossible and must be done by a qualified mentor, no matter how intelligent a person might be, because the act can be analogized to a dentist trying to fill his own teeth. There are professionals usually referred to as CEO Coach that can help you with the learning process depending on verification of their references, which you must not hesitate to ask for.
A simple way to explain Corporate Culture
The following animal experiment will help anyone understand what is meant by the extremely important phenomenon commonly known as Corporate Culture in the most simple manner:
1. Four gorillas are placed in a cage where there is a ramp in the cage. On the top of the ramp there is a bunch of bananas. As soon as one of the gorillas starts climbing the ramp to go for the bananas, high pressure hoses placed at the top of the ramp are turned on knocking that gorilla off the ramp and soaking the rest. This happens until none of the existing gorillas dare go near the bananas.
2. One of the gorillas is replaced by a band new gorilla. When the new gorilla tries to get to the bananas, remaining original gorillas jump on him trying to drag him back to avoid getting soaked based on their past experience. This continues until the new gorilla has also learns not to go after the bananas due to the reaction observed from the original gorillas.
3. The original gorillas are replaced one at a time over time. Eventually the cage contains four new gorillas, none of whom has ever been hosed, but strangely, none of them will go near the bananas!
4. Thus the situation continues perpetually every time a new gorilla enters the cage.
The limits of business growth
No business or company can grow beyond the limits of the talents of the business founder or owner. Therefore if a business has stopped growing or is experiencing problems, the owners must look for ways to learn new tricks over and beyond the information that they have been exposed to thus far, which has resulted in the status quo. Such new knowhow can only be brought in from outside. What is needed is a Business Coach or Consultant with a proven track record of success that can be verified through their references.
How do we know change is needed?
If business owners are not happy with the current state of their business, that obviously means that something needs to be changed. The question is what is it that needs to be changed and how it can be done? If you have been in business for a long time, you would be surprised to learn that the only things that needs to be changed are your own habits. You can keep addressing your staff with the same routines, keep hiring new people or hire different business consultants to no avail. But nothing will change dramatically in your business unless you are willing, able and ready to change your own habits as the business leader. The rarest commodity in business is good talent. The rarest of all talents is the Business Coach that can help you with the implementing the needed change in your leadership and management habits. It is absolutely imperative that you verify the references of any business coach that you intend to hire thoroughly.
Why good coaches make a big difference?
Let’s assume for a moment that you wanted to seriously improve your game of golf, tennis or perhaps improve the way you play the piano casually. In such cases I am sure you would agree that you would hire the best instructor or coach in each subject area and would pay attention to what the coaches had to say intensely. Well you would be surprised to learn that the same thing would apply to the way you conduct business, especially if you have started a business long time ago and have have improved your skills organically without receiving any formal training or instruction from a professional business coach. Perhaps it is time for you to hire a professional Business Coach. The only advice would be to verify the testimonials and references of the coach, because just like everything else, there are good ones and bad ones.
What is the #1 factor for business success
As a Business Coach I am often asked; “What is the #1 factor for business success?” The answer always is: The quality of the people you hire and how you articulate their accountabilities to them. The biggest downfall in business is hiring the wrong people for management or key positions, and expect results by trying to constantly micromanage them.
An experienced Business Coach could train you to stop procrastinating, control your time, organize, plan, set goals and delegate, so you can get a lot of work done through the people on your payroll and earn a good profit margin on what you pay them.
What is the best business to get into?
People often ask business consultants, coaches or advisors about what is the best business that they should get into or invest in? The answer always is that as long as there is a need or demand for any goods or services, you can always find successful ones and not-so successful ones, in almost every line of business.
The main determinants are the natural talents together with acquired management and leadership skills of individuals that are involved in running the business. If you feel that you are not doing as good as some of your competitors, a business coach with a proven track record can help you develop the competitive advantage needed to surpass your competition.