Three Leadership Gaps You Can Fill Next Week
We all start businesses for various reasons. But after owning and being apart of leadership teams for a number of years, the reasons why we continue to run the business–our business goal–frequently starts to narrow.
We have spoken to hundreds of business owners, and when we asked “Why,” and most say they want to achieve business goals such as growing the business by 40% next year, we found three prime motivations that can either have a positive or negative effect on a businesses leadership.
Selling The Business
Most business owners do start the business with an exit in mind. That exit involves selling it–whether the buyers are investors, family members, or employees. Growing a company for this purpose requires specific strategies in order to create and maximize the value of the company to potential suitors. An interim, fractional, or project-based executive can help execute on these strategies to maximize a company’s value. These specialists understand how to create a synergistic system that leverages internal efficiencies, draws on hidden potentials within external vendor and partner relationships, and streamlines operations to accelerate the process of building tangible value within an organization. Once an owner decides it is time to start looking at an exit, there are often clear gaps identified in the leadership team; executing well on the one- to three-year plan will depend on closing those leadership gaps with the right talent for the job. There isn’t a great deal of tolerance for error.
And in many cases, hiring short-term leadership to fill short-term gaps can be one of the most grueling challenges in business. A known timeline for exit can make sourcing qualified talent pool difficult or cost-prohibitive.
The interim executive staffing model provides fertile middle ground, allowing the company to be more agile, scalable, and focused with both planning and execution even as it keeps its sights firmly on its planned exit. Read more about how an interim executive can help maximize value as a company prepares for exit.
Have New Leadership Take Over…So I Can Do Something Else
A friend of mine owns a $14-million family-owned business. He mentioned the other day how much fun he had traveling Europe for two weeks with his family and wished he could do more of that. He is far from wanting to sell the company at this time, but he doesn’t need to be so involved with the day-to-day. And while he’s thought about hiring a president or general manager, he is hesitant for a number of reasons. I understand his trepidation. It can be costly and disruptive to bring in the wrong executive, and creating a brand new role increases the risk of a new hire simply not working out. In a situation like my friend’s, an interim executive can step in and help an owner figure out what they need to free themselves up. What personal leadership skills and experience are absolutely irreplaceable Which other tasks and projects can be offloaded and handled by someone else? (“Someone else” may already exist inside the company, or the work can be restructured and handed off permanently to a new hire.)
During the “free up the boss” endeavor, an interim executive can actually assume the duties and role of the new position–establishing expectations, KPIs, goals, benchmarks, metrics, and expectations, as well helping other employees get used to the owner not being the “go to” leader for this set of functions
within the organization. Read more about how an interim executive can help free up an owner from the day-to-day of the business.
Have Fun Again
Few people understand the meaning of “It is lonely at the top” like business owners. The constant demands and pressures with no one to talk to at the end of the day can add to some of the frustrations of owning a business. It is easy to get caught in a rut, become complacent, or get caught up in constant frustration and worry about whether the business “is growing fast enough.” For business owners who have lost that feeling they had back when they first started their business–it may be that the mature business doesn’t require the same level or type of attention that a start-up did. There is something exciting, demanding, and unique about growing a business. It’s like climbing a mountain or running a marathon; the challenge is enormous. The rewards (financial stability, prosperity, natural adrenaline from starting something new) are equally huge. And afterward, sometimes, nothing can equal it. The letdown can be significant and leave a founder casting about for a Next Big Thing, inadvertently neglecting the first big success.
This is a situation in which an Interim Executive can join forces with the owner on a fractional basis and become a sounding board, catalyst, or strategic partner to help the “chief innovation officer” have fun again and discover new, productive, exciting directions to pursue with the business to grow it intelligently, sustainably, and successfully–without endangering what’s already been built. If you know someone with short-term or interim executive challenges that require immediate, highly qualified leadership to close the gaps, let Cerius help create a roadmap and source the right executive expertise at the right time.