Affirming Personal Detachment

If you founded your business and have been involved in it from Day 1, then you are truly invested in the enterprise.  It’s hard to step away, even for lunch.

However, for your health and the health of the company, you need to consider how to detach yourself from the company. But you also need to affirm this detachment in a positive way.

Truly, if you have the correct organization and team in place and have empowered them to make decisions, you are half way there.  The other half lies inside you—you need to give up on some things and you can do that with some simple acts:

  • Before you leave the office, leave instructions on any critical projects with your team lead in charge at the end of the shift.
  • Have the day start and end at a specific time. 8am is early enough and 5pm is a good time to close up.
  • After hours leave your phone off or in the charger in your garage. 99% of decisions can wait until morning.
  • Close your home office door. Office hours ended at the office and have at home, too.
  • Make standing appointments for exercise and other non-work pursuits. And keep them.
  • Take up and pursue a hobby that gets you out of your head—draw, paint or color.

You aren’t abandoning your enterprise, just freeing it and you up to go in new directions.  While you have earned the right to pursue other things, the enterprise itself has also earned something.  It’s time to consider the next act for the company.

But it all starts with you positioning yourself as a detached part of the organization.  Important, just detached.

Call or contact us should you want to explore this topic further.

 

Building an Environment of Structural Flexibility

Every organization needs to have some structure.  If, for nothing else, to allow for how things get done.  But the days of rigid structure in an organization are gone.

Particularly if you want to be able to not have the organization be too dependent on any one person.

Gee, sounds like a recipe for being able to break those chains and allow your enterprise to operate without you.  “You proofing” at its finest.

Where does one start? Well, if they want to create and then operate an organization that is an environment that allows for competent decisions as well as being flexible, then start with these attributes:

  • Allow it to be organic. That is, let decisions and decision-making come naturally to the leaders.  Don’t let the organization get in the way of the work.
  • Make sure it is flat. In other words, remove layers of management.  Without middle management, employees become more self-reliant and empowered. Too many layers slow down decision making.
  • Let it be part of a larger network. This means that if sometimes the work can be done outside the organization most efficiently, then let it.
  • Ensure that it coexists with your team. Besides, if your team is formulated to support your company, it should integrate symbiotically with your flexible, flat organization.

What this all boils down to is this: build a functional yet simple organizational structure then populate it with an empowered team.

It will free up the leaders/founders/principals to either work on the company, plot its future or depart. Freedom first, then value, and, finally, future.

Call or contact us should you want to explore this topic further.

They didn’t tell me anything new, but…

Sometimes the answer is right in front of us we just need to talk it through or have it told us in language we understand—and may have heard before.

Sound familiar?

So it was with Michael Smith at MD Engineering.  He had a successful, growing company, but something was missing.  And it was really in front of him all along.

“The New Paradigm Advisors (NPA) team came in and really spent time with us,” Michael recounted. “The things they told us we had heard before just not in that order or with the emphasis they gave it.”

New Paradigm Advisors is a business consulting firm that helps determine a company’s value by helping shape it.  NPA came in to help Michael shape his company at a time when it needed shaping.

“One thing I was missing was an advisory team,” he continued. “As a privately held single partnership, I didn’t necessarily have any collaborators.  The New Paradigm team helped me select and shape an executive team.”

Subsequently, Michael put together a team that help guide decisions important to the company’s present and future.  This team includes:

  • Michael, the CEO
  • The company controller
  • An industry visionary from within the company
  • A next-generation employee

This team is anything but a collection of “yes” people. Quite the contrary, Michael says.

“Anything is open for discussion to allow the smartest and most clear decision to be made. They all are allowed to push back.”

This one innovation has gotten the company excited again.

New Paradigm Advisors is a value-assessment and consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

Why is the monkey on your back?

Recently we were in a client’s executive meeting where everything was going smoothly. People were engaged and contributing. After a while it was time to assign tasks and responsibilities for the various issues identified. That went pretty well, too, until one particularly challenging item was on the table. Rather than assign this, the leader volunteered to take the responsibility for it himself. You could feel the sense of relief everyone else in the room felt. They were off the hook on that one.

We call this taking the monkey. You’re familiar with the concept of having a monkey on your back? Well, this is the same thing.

Continue reading “Why is the monkey on your back?”

Sellability: Is this a goal for your company?

Imagine that your first-born graduates from college and as a gift you give him your prized 1967 Shelby Ford Mustang. Your heavily indebted child takes it on the road, but after a few miles, the engine starts smoking. The mechanic takes one look under the hood and declares that the engine needs a rebuild.

You thought you were giving your child an incredible asset, but instead it’s an expensive liability he can’t afford to keep, and nor can he sell it without feeling guilty.

You may be planning to pass your business on to your kids or let your young managers buy into your company over time. These are both admirable exit options, but if your business is too dependent on you, and it hasn’t been tuned up to run without you, you may be passing along a jalopy.

The sellability of your company is a gift and is just one of the four reasons why building a sellable business should be your most important goal, regardless of when you plan to push the eject button.  It should also be a hidden goal.

If you’re like most owners, you have a profit goal you want to hit. You may also have a top-line revenue number that’s important to you. While those goals are important, there is another objective that may have an even bigger payoff: building a sellable business.

But what if you don’t want to sell? That’s irrelevant. Here are the other three reasons why building a sellable business should be your most important goal, regardless of when you plan to push the eject button:

  1. Freedom.
  2. Fun.
  3. Financial freedom.

Freedom goes back to the “you-proofing” concept.  Making your company less dependent on you means that you actually have an enterprise that stands alone and gives you the freedom to step away or look at it differently.

Running a business should be fun–thinking and acting strategically, solving problems for your clients and customers and working on your business rather than in your business.  Passing on the drudgery of your business to someone else in your organization is part of making your company sellable.

By creating a sellable business, you shape and mold your enterprise into something that is not unlike a financial portfolio.  It is an asset working  for you rather than you working for it.

Keep in mind these things take time.  but patience and persistence and doing the work are all a part of successful business. Remember, it is a goal.

Blessings.

Dave

Is Your Company “You Proof?”

We’ve all had a client or prospect “disappear”on us on occasion. Happens all the time and it sends us into all kinds of internal scenarios trying to figure out what happened.

I couldn’t reach a new contact recently and began to wonder what happened to him. Maybe he was no longer interested in what we had been discussing. Maybe something was going on in his business that had changed his priorities.

Well, you get the point. When a client or prospect drops off the world, you begin to wonder what happened and what you can do to pick things back up.

Then, after two weeks, I get a call from him apologizing for being out of communication since he had been on a two-week fishing excursion with his buddies. He quickly moved from a worry to being a hero.

Question: “Can you go fishing for two weeks? Maybe take your family on a two week vacation?” If not, why not?

“You-proofing” your business has enormous benefits. It will allow you to create a company and have a life. Your business will be free to scale up because it is no longer dependent on you, its bottleneck. Best of all, it will be worth a lot more to a buyer whenever you are ready to sell. With that thought in mind, here are a five ways to get your business to run without you:

  1. Give your employees a stake in the outcome by creating an ownership culture inside your company.
  2. Create an environment of inclusion.  Ask your employees often, “what would you do if you ran the company?”
  3. Prioritize your company’s offerings by which ones require the least of your attention.  That is, revise your selling priorities towards things that sell best without you.
  4. Fire yourself as the company’s chief rainmaker by creating automated customers.
  5. Write an instruction manual on how to run your company.

Some owners focus on growing their profits, while others are obsessed with sales goals. By  making it your primary goal to set up your business so that it can thrive and grow without you, you ultimately will increase the value of your company and make life more enjoyable.

A business not dependent on its owner is the ultimate asset to own. It allows you complete control over your time so that you can choose the projects you get involved in and the vacations you take. When it comes to getting out, a business independent of its owner is worth a lot more than an owner-dependent company.

Blessings,

Dave