Wednesday, February 22, 2006

CEO Success transitioning from founder to CEO

There are interesting discussions at Rick Spence's and Noam Wasserman's blogs on successful transitioning from founder to CEO (or small to big company)

Naturally it makes me think. What do I need to do to successfully transition?

I have been actively asking this question and studying for the past year and a half when I did make a fair leap in business size (EMJ was about $375 Million and now SYNNEX is over a $ Billion). I have not been studying the question though of what traits make for successful transitioning, rather I have been very specific on what I needed to do to be successful.

A partial list of what I needed to do was:

1 - As always, I need to think bigger. It used to be a $1,000,000 line would move the needle. Now, I really need to think bigger.

2 - Since I am a time person, I knew I needed to refine my time systems to handle increased volume. I continually tune my systems but this was one of the biggest one time leaps in re-tuning I had to do.

3 - I needed to get other people to make decisions. Organizations fail if every decision needs to be done by one person. This involves the discipline to not make some decisions that I know others should and can make even if I could do it easily.

4 - I needed to seriously consider where I might add the greatest value and leave areas where the value I could add was low. This involves trying to assess the areas that are competently handled and letting those areas work without interference. The decisions might go all the way from making a change to coaching people to completely letting others handle it. The key is to try to figure out what areas need what.

5 - I needed to figure out and address the needs of all my bosses - the customers, the vendors, the staff, head office, etc. Much of this involves trying to understand their needs. It is also about communication.

6 - I needed to understand a new culture. Choose what I liked and choose what areas to polish. SYNNEX is way more detailed on cost accounting than EMJ was so I needed to dig deep into that. EMJ was more vision based so I needed to start some of that at SYNNEX.

7 - To grow, I needed to give things up. This can be tough. Things might not get done exactly the way I want. I need to fight battles that are cultural (like doing stupid business) but not fight things that might just be different than the way i would have done them.

8 - Larger companies need more replicability. They need to be able to scale what they do. This means good processes that can be repeated. This can be tough on entrepreneurial spirit. But again, if the idea is big enough, then I take the cahllenge to come up with a process.

I am still learning and will think further on the issue.


At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jim,

One question I have is in regards to number 2 - Refining your time.

How does this affect your personal life and relationships?

I have read some good books like Michael Dell's book and a few others. One thing that seems to be absent from most of these reads are how CEO's devote time to family life and personal relationships outside of business.

If it's not to much to ask, could you publish an article on effectively managing a personal life and provide any valuable tips from your experience?

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

I will give it some thought and likely post an article.


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