These last few days I am having a lot of discussions with one of my customers who is transitioning from the early stages of business growth, where growth is highly correlated with the ability of a business to seize opportunities rather than with that of executing a strategy. His company is now of a size that makes it tricky to be changing directions too often, while as a business owner he still prizes his freedom to tinker with the business too much to make a credible commitment to a growth strategy. He is still ready to jump on opportunities and particularly on the opportunity to sell his business even though that is probably not the best way for him to derive long term value out of the business he helped launch. Interestingly in this case, the sale of the business may even destroy value for the company...
Several lessons to be taken there:
- strategy without commitment to it is worthless crap
- the confusion of roles (owner, director, manager, employee) is not conducive to value creation
- early stage entrepreneurs are not necessarily the best people to drive value creation at later stages because what makes them strong in the early stages becomes a performance killer later on
- focus on personal wealth may not be the best way to make a business prosper (that's what one of my friends would call the "greed distortion", which is tricky to control)
- execution gives meaning to great thinking (one of my frustrations insofar as my influence on a couple of my projects may be quite limited)