So often in businesses that are scaling up, CEOs feel like they don’t have control (even if they don’t admit it). And their instinctive response is precisely the wrong one.
Scaling a business is about scaling the people within it. Your business scales when your people (including you) do.
What does that mean?
Responsible delegation is delegating at the appropriate level. You neither abdicate responsibility, nor micromanage (aka interfere) with the team as they try to do the work you’ve asked them to.
It means that if you’re going to allow your business to grow, and to grow in a way that is controlled, you need to be able to let go of things so others can step in and control them.
If you try to control and manage everything, you WILL become a bottleneck. And in the end, you’ll actually stop your business from growing, and in the process, make the people best able to help your company scale leave.
The key is for you to control at a higher level. That doesn’t mean you relinquish control – not at all. It simply means that you allow others to pick up the things you used to do, while managing those you’ve delegated to through clarity of parameters, and through trust rather than by controlling each action or decision they make.
So if someone is to take on scheduling for you, you no longer get to decide where everyone or everything goes at any point in time. Instead, you work with them to agree parameters (e.g. we want x% utilisation, with the right level of time for recovery / growth / holidays / etc), and you make clear what your values and expectations are.
Then you get out the way. You provide support rather than micromanagement.
Same for ops. Same for sales. Same for finance. Marketing. Whatever are the key operational areas of your business. Determine which areas make sense to relinquish, choose the right people to manage those areas (skills and aligned values), agree the parameters, then trust them to manage it.
They can come to you for advice. And you can go to them if the parameters are being broken.
But you no longer tell them everything that needs to be done, and – CRITICAL – you also don’t just go and do the things that you’ve made them responsible for. That would be the recipe for annoying the heck out of your team, and in most cases, also making your business perform worse.
Then finally, embed that ethos in your leadership team. Help them understand that they’ll scale the people in their charge scale.
Allowing you to do strategic. Whatever that is 😉
How we can support you
- Join us on a workshop on how to scale your company; create time to focus on the bigger picture; and keep values and purpose core to your company. For max 5 CEOs of companies with revenues between £1.5m and £15m.
- Subscribe to our weekly Build on Purpose newsletter. Every Saturday morning, we'll send you a short focussed read on a specific topic of how to lead a company that values both profit and purpose.
- Talk to us to explore how we can help you scale your company in the direction you want to take it.