In my experience, there usually is a time when the organization outgrows its entrepreneur. What does this mean? Basically, it means that the founder’s skills, expertise, or leadership style may no longer be sufficient to drive the company forward. Because of this phenomenon, the organization’s leader may become a bottleneck. In other words, the leader is in the way of the smooth flow of operations and decision-making which can have a negative impact on the entire organization. As a business coach, you can imagine that it requires some hard conversations when the company’s founder and leader is the cause of the bottleneck. But before having those conversations, I help identify the specific bottlenecks and their root causes.
A business leader can be the cause of bottlenecks in several ways:
One of the main reasons I became a certified Scaling Up coach is because I was once the entrepreneur who was outgrown by my business. In fact, this happened to me several times. However, most of us in this boat do not have the benefit of hindsight. I do want to pass along the many lessons that I learned on my journey. Therefore, when I work with entrepreneurs, I first conduct an extensive analysis of the leader’s strengths, weaknesses, skills, and expertise. This analysis helps me to determine if there are any bottlenecks and if they are caused by the leader. At the end of the day, I want to know if the leader can lead the organization to the next level.
Sometimes, the analysis shows that the leader is not the cause of any bottlenecks and is the right person for the job. But more often than not, I learn that the leader needs to make some changes for the benefit of the entire organization.
When the analysis identifies issues, I next work with the leader on solutions. This is when the hard discussions begin.
Of course, every situation and every leader is different. However, based on my experience, there are some things that can be done to alleviate bottlenecks caused by a company’s leader. Examples of solutions are as follows:
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the organization has the right leadership in place to drive its growth and meet the demands of the market. I know it is hard for the leader to know and admit when they are causing the bottleneck. As I said before, I know it as I was that leader. I just wish I had a coach that could have made me see the light. Addressing these issues would have made my businesses more profitable, scalable, and my people more productive. It would have also made my processes more efficient. Learn from me by giving me a call!