Defining Success: Handing Over the Keys

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On September 20, 2011

Believe it or not, one sign of business success is when you work yourself out of a job. I’m not talking about being forced out of your position for non-performance. This is the exact opposite. This is doing such a good job that you’ve managed to pass on your vision, skills, and disciplines to someone else—allowing you to focus on new frontiers (within your company or perhaps in a completely new environment).

This isn’t a step to be taken lightly, or too soon. But if you’ve built your business up to the point where it’s running like a fine-tuned race car, you may want to bring in someone like a general manager or an operations manager to run the business for you. That can free you up to focus on strategy, vision, and other big-picture issues (and you might even be able to take a little time away from the company!).

Some business owners get nervous about “turning the keys to the racecar” over to someone else. What if they don’t grasp the vision? What if they don’t adhere to the corporate mission? What if they go off-message? First of all, you have to have a great strategic plan that you’ve been executing yourself. Second, you don’t put just anyone in this position. The person you select for this role has to fit the culture. They have to be committed to the same strong beliefs you’re committed to. And frankly, you should pick someone who’s actually stronger than you at running a company. Ideally, you’ll want to pick someone who has aspirations of owning and running their own business eventually.

Success isn’t defined by how long you stay in your position. It’s determined by what you accomplish through the business. And sometimes that means handing over the keys!