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Begin Strategy With The End In Mind

by Jonathan Jones

Business owners should begin strategic planning by imagining their ideal exit strategy. The value of a company increases to an outside buyer if the owner is not actively involved. To make sure any transition – whether to new owners or to heirs – goes smoothly, I advise owners to step back and envision what kind of company they want to leave and how they want it to function without them. To do that requires following a few simple steps.  

First, assume the role of chief talent manager. You may know what kinds of attributes you look for in personnel, but those who follow you may not.  Take time to write down any hiring protocols you’ve developed over years of building a successful staff. Look for people smarter than yourself, and then delegate responsibilities you either do not enjoy or feel you lack sufficient knowledge to carry out. Ensure that you trust every person you hire and retain – and be clear on why.

Then identify multiple successors for key roles you now spend your time filling. Talk with each one of them about taking control of this area of responsibility. Challenge these successors to assume more responsibility and reward them when they meet your standards.

Once you’ve completed these steps, take one week away from work to allow your nominal successors to actually perform and grow into their duties. Review their progress upon your return. Then try to take one month away – again ensuring extensive review and follow-up upon your return. You should be able to feel comfortable taking a full year’s sabbatical and be confident in your staff’s ability to run the organization easily without you. This “thinking with the end in mind” approach will, in time, reduce the stress on you and significantly strengthen your culture.

Jonathan Jones ( or 314-608-0783) owns Jonathan Jones Consulting.
Submitted 9 years 152 days ago
Categories: categoryCulturecentric Leadership
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