Are you a founding owner looking to step out of your active role in your business? Do you want to free yourself from the day-to-day storms to pursue other passions, maybe start another business? It’s possible. I know because I’ve lived it.

I used to be the lynchpin in my business. If you removed me, my business wouldn’t have survived. I was fully immersed in the business, working full time, making all the key decisions and steering the ship. And yet when the time came for me to follow a new passion, I successfully transitioned out of this company. Now, I work only 3 hours per month in that company. How did I make this massive transition? Let me share with you the lessons I learned as I navigated that journey.

There were two major phases that made my stepping back possible: preparation and execution. Let’s take a look at the key learnings in each phase. I will cover each phase in a separate blog post a week apart to keep them both short and sweet.


First things, first, I had to prepare myself and my team for this move. It’s was not a case of simply handing over the keys and stepping out. We had to be ready and it took teamwork to get there.

Being the lynchpin was holding me back from where I wanted to go. I had to learn to stop being the hero and start being the coach. When asked questions by my team, instead of giving them the answers, I had to ask, “What do YOU think we should do?” A lot of time, they already knew the answer, I simply verified that they were on the right track. I also challenged them to think deeper or differently when needed. The end goal? Teach them to think for themselves.

Articulate a clearly defined purpose
I struggled for years to define my purpose. It was incredibly hard but I eventually figured it out. Looking back Simon Sinek was right. It really does start with “why.”  I had to give my people a reason to get in the boat. Once I did, it gave us that common bond, an exciting, inspiring reason to go to battle each day.

Hire according to passion and values
If team members didn’t share our passion and values, then they weren’t the right fit. Looking back, I recognize that I was blessed with great people. Because I had great people, who were making good decisions and plans, it enabled me to trust them and that’s no small task! Once I could trust my people, it made it easier for me to step away and let go.

Have an effective operating system
In order to trust that stuff wasn’t getting missed, I needed a way to manage all the moving pieces. I implemented an operating system to help me do that. I used the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS™), based on the book Traction by Gino Wickman. Had I recognized the incredible benefit at the time, I would have implemented EOS™ a lot sooner. Bottom line? Get a system and work it!

These were the key pieces of the puzzle that needed to be in place before I could consider stepping aside. Once these were in place, my business started running like a clock. It was amazing! We were setting and hitting priorities on a regular basis and consistently moving towards our big goal. It’s not that we didn’t’ have challenges, we just had an effective way of dealing with them.

So then it was time to jump. It was time to put my plan to step away into action. But more on that in my next post where I will discuss the execution phase of my transition out of my company.

Next Steps:

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