The following comment was posted to my blog of last week titled, “Bob’s Hiring Strategy is no More” by my youngest son, Reid:
Knowing your personality and profile, I would think however voluntary the transfer of power is; it still would be difficult for you to outsource some of the decision-making and strategic planning process. It would be really interesting if you could talk about how you handle that change in your next post (unless I am just completely wrong in my guess). Have their been particular times when it has been more difficult to allow another to make decisions? How have you handled it? I think it would be valuable to all and very interesting.
Interestingly (to me at least), my other two sons have also had similar conversations (as Reid’s comment above) with their mother about me and the transition of leadership at Advisa. Additionally, Heather has informed me that several employees have had like conversations with her. The gist of them all is, “Can he really let go?” with the underlying implication, “I don’t believe he can really let go.”
My outlook is really very different than what others are thinking. I’m not letting go of decisions. Neither am I outsourcing decision-making or planning. And I’m not ceding responsibility. That may be the appearance, but that’s not what’s going on – at least in my head.
Here’s what I am doing: I’m transitioning to a new career and a new phase in life. Once the organizational planning decision was made to turn things over to Heather, I started planning how I’d do that. My role is no longer making most decisions; it’s laying the groundwork to influence them. I concluded that my job would be less to run the company than to support Heather in running it well. Thus, my job is not so much running our business as it is coaching others’ to be successful running theirs.
I’m not missing what I was doing. I am enjoying what I am doing – and, planning what I’ll be doing next. For those of you contemplating embarking on a similar succession planning process, I think that mind-set is fundamental to success – especially if you’re highest A. Plan out what you’re going to be in control of as part of your process and be in control of that – be comfortable handing over what you’re no longer going to be in control of to others. Then, the succession planning process becomes easy – it becomes your plan to execute.
If you think my insight might be helpful in helping you craft your business decisions, drop me an email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you and potentially aiding your process.