Letting go of micro-managing is almost always the hardest step for a founder but it can be a vital factor in encouraging the growth of your business.
Sometimes this lesson is forced upon owners. I recently ran into a business owner I hadn’t seen in a few years. It turned out he had had cancer and at one point they hadn’t expected him to live. Thankfully, he is now on his road to recovery, but it took him out of his business dramatically for about half a year. When he came back, he was completely shocked to discover that not only did his business still exist, it was doing well. That led him to understand he wasn’t imperative for the business to thrive. It changed his entire thinking.
Go to the Caribbean for a month
We don’t always get that sort of dramatic wake up call, and an intellectual coaching approach to this doesn’t have the same kind of impact. I have sometimes said that the best thing a business owner can do is take a month and go on a holiday somewhere where they have no connectivity, and then see how the business did without them. It could change your approach and your role in the firm.
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I know the chance of people doing this is extremely unlikely. When I’ve suggested it to clients they invariably say, “That might work for most businesses but it would never work with my business. My business would be gone within a week.” I’m sure that’s your reaction as you read this too.
The Midas Touch
Sometimes the way business owners overcome their need for control is through the success of their business. When a business gets so successful that it gets too big for he or she to manage, the owner is forced to share control. It seems counterintuitive, especially to someone who has driven his or her business to a high level of success, but it’s true.
The bottom line is that letting go of control is tough. The more self-aware and enlightened a founder or owner is, the more likely he or she is to realize that paradoxically their business needs him or her to let go for it to grow. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by being responsible for our business and to deal with the first instinct of tightening control. That makes sense to us—but it actually can contribute to our business plateauing.
Founders need to find a way to let other people in their company be decision makers. Relinquishing control is hard but often necessary.