Founder Vs CEO – Leading a Business Now You Have Let Go

6 Strategies to Lead Your CEO and Your Business to Their Full Potential

Let’s discuss the founder vs CEO debate. Is leading a business possible now you have let go?

You’re a business founder who made the decision to step down and hire a business leader. You developed a strategy to let go, even though it was painful at the time. You set out the CEO role to hire successfully. And you have onboarded your most senior hire. Now for the last piece in the puzzle.

How do you lead your business now you have let go? Here are six strategies to employ as you guide your CEO to lead your business to its full potential.

1.    Take a Long Holiday!

Even though you have introduced the CEO to the company and put in plans for a successful transition of authority, it is likely that there will still be a tendency for people to seek you out. Old habits die hard, and who knows more about the business than you?

Providing you have onboarded your CEO effectively and they have the knowledge they need, and the support they need from your management team, there should be no reason for people to continue to knock on your door. But they will.

Book a few weeks off. Set your email and phone message to, “Sorry, I’m away for a while. Please call our new CEO…”

This will help your CEO build their internal network, validate their position, and break those habitual calls to you. The only calls you should take immediately are those from your CEO and senior management team.

2.    Keep Track of the Numbers

While you are away, make sure that you are receiving all the numbers that matter. Sales, revenues, profit and loss, cash flow, of course. But also make sure that you get HR numbers. Absenteeism, leavers, new joiners – monitoring these can give you a good early warning that something is not quite right.

3.    Be a Sounding Board

When you ‘return’ to the business, whether it is full-time or part-time in the workplace, or full-time at home, be the sounding board that your CEO needs. Your role has changed from making decisions to helping others make decisions.

4.    Take a Back Seat of Responsibility

If you make commitments, be sure to follow through. Be involved when you are needed, and take a back seat when you are not (you have the numbers to keep you informed; your job is not to micromanage your senior executives). Avoid any temptation for your ego to take control of your emotions and your actions – you hired your senior execs and your CEO because they are great at what they do. Let them do it.

5.    Enjoy Working on Strategy

One of the most enjoyable parts of letting go and stepping down is spending time on your business rather than in it. Instead of being embroiled in the daily running of your business, you get to help the team with strategy, business development, and envisioning new products and services. The things that really got you excited as a business founder all those years ago. It’s the best use of your business founding skills.

6.    Keep Your Door Open

This is the most important thing you can do. Set a regular meeting time with your CEO to catch up and discuss whatever they need to discuss. Keep your door open to your leadership team, too. Bounce ideas around, and be honest in your feedback and advice that you give. You have a unique position, and a unique role to play. Never undermine your CEO, but be there to guide them and to deliver the full potential of your business.

Be Certain of Your CEO Hire

Hiring your new CEO starts when you are first considering stepping back as a business founder. Once you have made the decision to let go, it is vital that you hire the right person for the job. Your business is unique, and you must find the CEO who will align with it.

As this is such a key hire, and confidentiality is paramount, most business founders who are in the process of hiring a CEO or COO will use an external agency. Our executive search services will help you find your next senior hire. We’ll help you with salary benchmarking as well as using our reach to uncover the ideal passive candidates. A typical outcome is around six candidates for this level of hire.

To get the ball rolling, contact Lime Talent today.