10 Tips to Successfully Step Into the “Chairman’s” Role versus the CEO’s More Active Role

When I first started coaching Tom his business was stuck at the $5 million per year revenue marker. The biggest reason for that was that Tom had built his company around himself. He made the key decisions, he approved the daily work, he managed the staff. He used his team to leverage himself, but he either did or closely managed all of the core work of his company.

Considering he was working 80 hours a week it was clear that he was maxed out.

Over the following six years Tom scaled his company to sales of $20 million per year and at the same time worked himself out of a day-to-day job in his own company. I’ve written about Tom in other articles.

What I want to focus on in this article is the transition from an active role running your company to a more passive role as its “Chairman”.

Here are my top 10 tips to successfully step into the “Chairman’s” role versus being the active CEO of your company.

1. Remember you must work through your CEO and help empower them.

2. You are a sounding board where your CEO can go to for feedback, support, and fresh ideas.

3. You must set clear expectations with your CEO. What information do you want them to share? When? How often? What deliverables are they responsible for? How will you hold them accountable? How do you want to be kept in the loop on progress and challenges?

4. Be careful about unintentionally undercutting your CEO by being too active in the business. This is especially true when your team is used to seeing you lead the day-to-day business. Refer them back to the CEO for answers. Share your feedback through your CEO. When you visit you are there to connect, encourage, and learn. Be careful about directing things like you used to when you are physically on-site.

5. Make sure your management team has a written business plan with clearly defined goals and strategies that you are in full agreement with. Then hold them accountable for delivering these results. In other words, set them up to win by making the rules, boundaries, and goals of the game very clear. Update this plan annually.

6. Make sure the business has a solid “score board” that lays out its key enterprise metrics. Review this score board weekly or monthly. If you see something troubling or puzzling, address it right away through the CEO.

7. Each month review the financials and key department score boards. Then meet with your CEO for status updates on key initiatives and other information.

8. Make sure all compensation is in alignment with your strategy and company Mission, Vision, and Values.

9. Beware your urge to step back in. You can undercut your CEO if you are not careful.

10. Beware your counter-urge to just ignore the business; it’s probably your greatest asset so pay attention on a weekly and monthly basis and “manage by exceptions”.

Good luck with your transition to owning your business more passively.

If you want to learn more about how to scale your business, I’m about to teach a new webinar that will focus on the key steps you need to take to grow your business and get your life back.

If you’d like to join me on this special webinar training, please just click here to learn the details and to register. (It’s free.)

Business David is a Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestselling author of 11 business and financial books. A syndicated columnist for Inc.com and HuffingtonPost.com, David’s articles have appeared in over 6,500 publications. As the founder and CEO of Maui Mastermind®, David has worked with 100,000+ business coaching clients and community members to buy, build, and sell over $5 billion of businesses.