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Let go

What is Let Go in Business?…

The ability to Let Go is one of the hardest behavioural change for human beings. On the professionalisation journey of family businesses, they tend to face more stumbling blocks than other organisations primarily due to the inability of the owners to hand over the responsibility to the new leader/ professional.

In a typical scenario, a business owner senses the need to hire an external professional while facing a positive or negative growth in the organisation. It is often witnessed as a slow process and they adopt various methodologies, from casual meetings to engaging in highly specialised interventions. The methodologies vary based on the real urge to change.

Once they hire a professional, the business owners promise absolute freedom in decision making, strategic planning, people management, etc. Essentially, complete control over the governance of the business. These privileges are not offered to the employees who have grown with the business making them all the more exclusive. Most of these appointments are done with great fanfare, announcements, and expectation. In some cases, you even hear the business owner stating – “He is me, I just hired someone like me to take this to the next level.”

After the acclimatisation period, the new leader now starts taking business decision independently, and this is when the first signs of discomfort set in.

(This can happen not only between the owner and hired professionals but also between two generations of owners).

As time goes, the new professional begins to see more and more interference from the business owner and a lot of time is wasted trying to clear the dissonance rather than focusing on the business goals. This eventually leads to the professional not performing as per expectations and the owner rethinking his decision.

To avoid these frictions, what business owners need to do is develop the ability to “Let Go”, in other words, relinquish the grip or control on a certain role, decision, and process.

Although it is a difficult process, control or power exercised over the years can be handed over to next in line, with a certain well-guided approach without causing heartburn or rocking the foundations of the business. Here’s a quick reckoner of how:

1. Create a compelling reason-: Decide why you need to handover. Identify the compelling reasons for identifying a successor.

2. Prepare in Advance -: Prepare mentally and create engagements outside the organisation still linked to business

3. Find the right fit-: Look for the person who could bring in new thoughts and take the organisation to the next level.

4. Do not compromise -: Take time and seek professional help in identifying the right person. Do take references.

5. Align Business & People -: Prepare the business to accept the new leader and change accordingly. Keep the key people in the organisation informed about your decision and get their buy-in.

6. Handhold the new leader-: Familiarise the new leader with the organisation value system. Mention expectations very clearly. Inform the non-negotiables.

7. Find a Coach -: Find a coach to work with you in this transition period. He would enable you to overcome the irritants you face during this period.

M R Rajeshkumar PCC
Managing Partner, GatewaysGlobal LLP