What do I do when my company outgrows my managerial abilities?

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Dear Norm,
I’ve been in executive recruiting for fifteen years. Two years ago, I formed an alliance with one of my clients, and it’s working out great. I’ve had to hire two new recruiters to keep up with the demand. My annual revenues have already gone from $150,000 to $800,000, and we’re barely scraping the surface. I see only one thing that can stop us from building a substantial organization: me. I’ve come to realize that I don’t have the ability, the patience, or the know-how to manage and grow this franchise. What should I do?

Dear Bruce,
First, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re lucky you came to this realization before getting your company in trouble. It took some tough experiences to teach me that I didn’t have the qualities required to manage a business, patience being perhaps the most important one. I eventually learned that I can take a company only so far and don’t enjoy running it beyond that point. I need to bring in real managers—patient, detail-oriented people. They aren’t good at starting businesses, and I’m not good at managing them. We get along just fine. Just remember that you’ll need to have a good working relationship with the person you bring in. That means both of you have to be open to learning from each other.
Yours truly, Norm

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