Doug Sippel, Leadership Transitions, LLC.
"Do you remember that line from the movie "The Pirates of the Caribbean" when Captain Barbosa says, "the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules," when he refers to the "Pirate Code"? The work of leading an organization and the hardest work of all, which is figuring out how to leave gracefully, has an interesting mix of "Guidelines and Rules."
Organizations have both rules and guidelines, and it takes quite a bit of talent to apply each in the proper fashion.
When you're leading people, there are no rules, just guidelines. When you are managing things, there are a lot of rules. Managing is about getting things done, and often this means following the rules. Leading people, on the other hand, is all about guidelines for human behavior and motivation. A great leader knows how to apply these guidelines to create alignment and help people feel motivated, empowered, and clear-headed in their decisions to manage their daily tasks and get things done.
You can hire "Experts" in the rules to help you stay out of trouble. Attorneys, CPAs, and Financial Advisers are good examples of experts who have studied the rules and can tell you what they are and how to apply them. Good managers need to know these rules and be able to follow them to get things done. But then comes the rub. Good managers must also be good leaders because it takes people to get things done. People's thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors are not governed by a set of rules; just guidelines.
You might also need help from a good Transition Coach, who understands the guidelines for human behavior and can help you develop the skills to be a better leader. And being a better leader starts with leading yourself. We often have the biggest blind spots around our beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. We need other people to point them out, so we can get to work correcting them when they need correcting.
If you have decided that it's time to do the necessary and very rewarding work of planning your transition, then you should start with a set of Guiding Principles that help you stay on track. You also might consider hiring a Transition Coach to help you see things through new eyes. Like Bob Sprout in the Two By Four Enterprises business scenario, this begins with seeing a new vision and a new future for yourself as a passive owner/investor in your business and turning over the daily management responsibilities to your trusted team. This will give you the greatest options when you decide how to transition your ownership.
Doug Sippel is founder of Leadership Transitions, LLC. He is a Leadership Coach, Values Consultant, Mediator and Financial Planner. Doug grew up in a multi-generational family business which has prospered through several leadership transitions and maintained strong family unity.