At a recent T.I.E. event, a venture capital firm partner said “ by the time you change CEO’s, you are already twelve months late.”As I discussed in is your business is bleeding , if your business is in trouble it is one, or a combination of three back to basics business triage areas; product, market or team.. Sometimes it may even be the team member titled CEO. So why do we have such a difficult time with this? Is it ego, Pride? A great post by Kristin Zhivago tilted ; Revenue and your charactor: the high cost of Pride touches on this as it relates to listening to cutomer needs verse thinking you know all the answers.I have found two types of CEO’s emerge over time in the life of a business; the entrepreneurial founder and the professional business builder. Both skills are valuable and very important and rarely does one individual master both.
This CEO has a technical expertise in their space, and are visionaries, “big picture leaders”. They are passionately focused on solving unresolved market problems. They see problems as opportunities. Their quest is the difference their work makes in the lives of others in their market. They are inventors who can not rest until their product or service perfectly solves the problem.
This CEO knows how to scale a business. They know how to grow markets and their people. They measure what matters and have a strong network . They are balanced team builders that create a sustainable and repeatable growth.They are connected to their market, but may lack the technical expertise to solve unresolved market problems.
So how do you know what kind of CEO is needed by your business?
What stage is your business in today?
What type of CEO does your team need at this stage of the organizations growth?
Honestly, are you that person?
There is nothing worse than providing the wrong skill set and leadership style given the lifecycle of your business. I am not saying to actually “give yourself a pink slip”, but a true leader knows his/her strengths that add value, and their weaknesses .Leaders know the needs of their team and market. If your business has grown to a point with your entrepreneurial flair, great, but rarely will this type of leader scale that perfect product or solution without help.
I see this very often in the Biomed industry. The founder is most often a scientist focused on “the work”, not the business of monitizing the work. So once the new solution is developed, they often hire a CEO to scale the business. This individual is not their “boss” but a partner with complementary skills that will grow the business. These founders have the emotional intelligence to humbly admit their personal distinctive competencies.
So ask yourself a simple question to find what kind of CEO you are; is your passion in the development of products and or service solutions that solve unresolved problems? Or is your passion and expertise in the management and growth of teams and markets? Some might say, “well why should I pick, I am good at both.” Well I hate to break it to you, but if you feel that way you are either very rare, or very wrong. ( the odds favor wrong) Once you answer the above, now ask yourself what type of leader does your business need today? If you want an unbiased view, ask your team to participate in 360 review.
If you find the business needs a skill set you do not possess, one of the best things you can do for your business and personal wealth, is to hire that skill and it may be a new CEO. This decision will free you to serve with your gift while being complimented by a partner who also has unique competancies . Agreat article by David Allen some time ago Titled : You can do anything-But not everything helps solidify the need we all have to narrow our focus.
If you are a founder, how can you come to grips with growing and handing your baby over to someone else? Focus.Focus on your business and its needs!
Besides, the founder is the one authors write books about.