I was just talking with one of my clients who is in that really special place that successful founders must all face.
The space between small company and big company.
The space between control and growth.
The space between managing and leading.
Like many leaders I have worked with, my client has hired a lot of the wrong people for what he needs now. And he has been the wrong leader for what he needs now.
When you are staring a business it is your baby. All of it. You’re worried about the baby making it to its first birthday. And then its second.
But just like a human baby, at some point your business baby begins to have its own opinions. It naturally wants to grow, and sometimes that growth is in ways that you didn’t anticipate.
If you want that growth, you have to be willing to see that your employees, your customers, even your suppliers might know better than you.
You might have to create and hold a container of disagreement, conflict even, to determine what is the best path for everyone. The best way to support your baby as it grows into the best version of itself.
A lot of inconsistent desires can arise in the process. This client, for example, said two contradictory things to me in the span of two minutes—
“I don’t want to be involved.”
“I don’t trust people to make the right decisions.”
And the work for him will be creating himself as a leader who does not need to be involved, AND who trusts his people to make the right decisions.
In that process, he will create both himself and the people he leads. He will decide if he wants to be the smartest person in the room, or to lead people who are smarter than he is.
The long-term success of the business could hinge on that choice.
What will you decide?