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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Succession Planning and Lasting Growth

During the start-up phase of a small company, the founder is often "the company."

But as the company grows, and the owner adds team members, and expands financial resources, the owner needs to structure operations so that the company's success is not overly dependent on his or her activities.

To paraphrase using Michael Gerber's terminology, the owner finds the need to structure the organization by working "on" the business, not just "in" it.

Jim Atfield, author of "The Owner's Manual," described here in an article at NFIB, offers these suggestions to help structure a company so that team members are empowered, and so that the company not only can exist without the owner being present, but can grow during the owner's absence:

  • Understand your company's core competencies
  • Validate your team members
  • Create a culture that grows and develops its people
  • Identify the systems and processes that are now in place throughout your company and rely on your team members to make the systems and processes more efficient and more effective
  • Get the right people in the right place
  • Get all team members to understand that what they do affects everyone else in the company
  • Build a strong second-tier management team that can take the company to the next level
  • Hold everyone, including yourself, accountable
  • Raise the bar by bringing in top talent
  • Finally, eliminate the position of owner in the minds of employees.

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