1. Make sure you really want to make this change and commit to
it. You will be building up expectations about possible
opportunities and, if you change your mind, you risk losing the
management team's confidence. Too often I have seen weak owners
decide to take back the reins and undermine the future running of
the business - this is classic 'no one can do it as well as me'
syndrome. Well, other people can, it just might be different.
2. Focus on the strengths of your management team and identify well in advance possible candidates for leadership and invest in development training as preparation.
3. Analyse the skill gaps and character profiles of your management team to see how the dynamics work when you remove your influence out of the mix.
4. It's all about managed transition and definitely not retirement. Phasing the roles by introducing a deputy MD role for one year prepares everyone for the next phase, when that person is promoted as your successor and takes over the running of the business. The plans are then transparent.
5. Likewise, engage your clients in the change. If you own all the client relationships, they're naturally going to be unnerved if you suddenly step out the picture. Build client trust by gradually letting your management team take over the relationships and provide reassurance by maintaining a backseat presence.
6. Do not be tempted to be incommunicado in an effort to prove a point. If anything, always be available for support. It's not that you don't trust the team, it shows that you still care, which the team will appreciate.
7. Become more strategic. It is a fantastic feeling to be able to add value by PR, networking, support and business development without the daily operational involvement.
8. Focus on key reports: weekly cash-flow; management reports; sales pipeline and debtors; and try to build a simple KPI table to gain comfort in knowing the effects of what is happening.
9. Communication: make sure you have the best possible communications even if you have a holiday home overseas. Broadband and Skype bring you closer.
10. Gradually build up your time away from the business and spend some time on health and wellbeing. Smell more roses along the way!
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