My business was working like a clock, the puzzle pieces were in place and it was time to step aside. I’d done the prep work, now it was time to execute! I was a little apprehensive. How would my team respond? Would it work out for me? I had been at the helm for 19 years; it was going to be a big change. I wanted things to go smoothly.My journey had two major phases that made my stepping back possible: preparation and execution. Let’s take a look at the key learnings in the execution phase. I ‘ve covered each phase in a separate blog post to keep them both short and sweet. To learn about the preparation phase, read part 1 of this post.
Once my team was thinking for themselves and we had a solid system working, then it was time to move forward and actively transition out of my company.
Open and honest announcement
I had to take care in how I let people know. I was open and honest with my reasons for leaving, but I also assured them that we were prepared for the transition. I told them where I was at, how it would impact them and what the general game-plan was.
I told the leadership team first. Together we developed a transition plan, then we told the rest of the company once we knew how we were going to make it happen. The reality was that after 19 years, it was time for me to do something else. I had lost some of my passion and wanted to start another company. Plus I was in a number of roles I shouldn’t have been doing anyway. I wasn’t good at them. I didn’t like them. I was faking my way through on some of them. I needed to empty my Suck Bucket. I was excited to start my new venture in the business leadership coaching world – and I let my team know. I didn’t mince words. My people were a bit shocked initially but they understood it and even agreed. They were excited about the opportunities for them to step up into new roles and responsibilities. We now had an inspired team, ready to execute.
Engage Leadership in the planning process (so they can own it)
In the beginning, I was involved in planning the transition, but eventually, my leadership team took over. I had planned for a 12-month transition period. But as my leadership team became more involved in the planning and execution, they wanted to make it happen faster. They even asked me to speed up the process – they were ready.That enabled me to transition out in 9 months instead of 12.
Looking back, I realize that by engaging my team years in advance in the creation of the overall company vision, When it was time for them to take over, it was their vision they were bringing to life, not mine.
Stepping away from an active role takes time and I had to patient and methodical. I was diligent in creating a highly detailed list of all the things that needed to be transitioned to my team and managing the process. Having this effective plan that laid out what needed to be taught to my team, who is going to do what and by when was essential to our success.
ONGOING EXECUTION (I’m out. Now what?)
Have the right reporting structure
So what happens once you are no longer in an active role? It’s still your company and you still want and need to know what is going on and maintain some level of influence?
For me, my key player and I meet on a monthly basis for a 3-hour meeting. He gives me all the information about what is going on with the company and brings me up to speed. Together we create a list of issues and work through them one at a time. The second part of our meeting features time for key updates and review of numbers.
Don’t forget the numbers
To keep a close pulse on my company, I need to know the numbers on a monthly basis. Not just the financials, but other key numbers, like the number of new accounts opened. Keeping track of the growth activities in as well as the financials gives me a pulse on the business.
Actually letting go
I think something I did well was letting go and stepping back, recognizing that it was now their show. It’s easy to fall into the “helicopter parent” role and simply fly in and solve their problems for them, but I don’t recommend it. In my transition out, my team even asked for me to step in and solve a particular role issue. I had to be willing to say no. I did offer them advice and shared my experience, but I wasn’t willing to participate in an active role and make the decisions, even though I had the experience.
I successfully transitioned out of my first company and started Strategic Traction. I am loving what I do and very proud of my team that keeps my other company running well. You can also follow your new passion while maintaining your existing company if you plan your transition well, use an operating system like EOS™, and follow through. It will take discipline and trust on your part, but it is so worth it.
EOS™ had such a huge impact on the success my transition. I would love to share my passion with you. Call me to learn how you can use EOS™ to transition out of your current business and into your new one!
- Check out Traction by Gino Wickman (Get a free chapter!)
- Learn more about EOS™.
- Contact me to learn how you, too, can use EOS™ or transition out of your current business and into your new one!
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