Reactive Management – Not!

By Russ Holdstein     Add your comments

There does come a time when you might need to relinquish being the CEO and just start a new company. Here’s why:

Last week I was speaking to a group of entrepreneurs about how they could work less while growing their businesses faster. As we all know from frustrating personal experience, entrepreneurs are great at solving problems but not so great at planning for the future to avoid the problems in the first place. You know the feeling – it’s called being reactive.

I heard myself say the words ‘reactive management’ and then I caught myself. Reactive management? It’s an oxymoron! Management is all about reaching goals by making the things happen that you want to happen.

Being reactive is just the opposite. It’s not managing at all, it’s fire fighting. But let’s face it, fighting fires is a lot more fun than managing a company. The adrenaline is addictive and so is the gratitude you get from the people you’ve just rescued. You’re operating at peak performance and it feels great! No wonder so many entrepreneurs get stuck at the fire fighting stage of management.

Unfortunately, you can’t keep your business growing by being a fire fighter. A fire fighter makes a great company founder, but what your company really needs to move to the next level is a leader who is able to pull together a top notch management team then work with that team to develop and implement a multi-year action plan.

Are you that person? Can you really make the changes required to be a top flight manager? Or are you the “starting pitcher” who has done the hard work of getting your company off the ground and successful and who’s now ready to come out of the game?

Sooner or later every entrepreneur needs to ask that difficult question. When I did, I realized that my company had outgrown my skill set and needed a real manager at the helm, not a wild eyed entrepreneur. So I delegated myself out of my CEO role and began to work with other young companies. Being an entrepreneur is just about the most fun you can have and still stay out of jail, so why do you want to try to become something you aren’t suited to? You too can become a serial entrepreneur, starting up several different companies during your career.

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