5AM came a bit earlier than I had anticipated. My wife was already up and in the shower. After a split second of trying to remember why we were getting up early, I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to start making some breakfast.
I love making breakfast for my kids. It’s sort of a special time of the day. Today was a bit more special for my son. I guess if I was being honest, it was a bit more nerve racking.
We spent the weeks before this day prepping and preparing. Suitcase. Airline tickets. Flip phone (yes, just for emergencies). Map. Signed permission slip. Instructions. Rules. Check-in plan.
This was the first time we allowed him to travel by himself. Well, it was with friends from school and some amazing teachers. But, we were not going.
Those of you who are parents will understand the anxiety. Oh, and did I mention he was flying United? More to worry about.
The funny thing was…he was ready. We, his parents, were having a hard time with our first BIG hand off.
You know the feeling, right?
- You let your CMO run the marketing meeting for the first time.
- You delegated the hiring process of new developers to your co-founder for the first time.
- You turned over project management of your 2.0 software to your new CTO.
- Gasp, you let a team member speak with one of your investors.
It’s different for all of us. But, there is usually this first BIG hand off of something that you held onto as Founder that you reluctantly transitioned to someone else. It’s inevitable if you want to stay the CEO.
What’s funny is most of you tell me you wish you did it sooner.
So, why don’t you? Why don’t you hand things over sooner? Why do you wait so long for the first BIG handoff?
Resources? Time? Trust?
Yes, to all of these.
But, what I hear the most is what a highly successful Founder & CEO recently told me during a coaching call. He said, “I’m afraid they won’t do it the right way.”
He didn’t say, “…my way…” He said, “…the right way…”
But, he was basically saying both of these things were the same thing.
And, there my fellow Founders is the crux of the issue. Many of you are high achieving, get stuff done, excellence-oriented people who have a lot in your head about your product, service, or experience. It’s natural. The initial vision came from you and possibly your co-founders.
In order to take a step forward in the shift from Founder to CEO, you’ll have to start embracing the idea that “my way” and “the right way” can be two different but complimentary things. Even Steve Jobs figured this out despite his reputation for exacting insistence.
My son made it to New Jersey and back home safe and sound. He did things “his way” but with our “guidance.” Our first BIG hand off as parents was successful.
You’ll be fine, too.
Focus on vision and guidance.
Let your team surprise you.
What’s holding you back from your first BIG hand off as Founder & CEO?