Making the transition to teen-dom
As well as my work in talent management, I am a coach for Parent Gym , the charity which gives parenting advice to families in lower income areas around the country. Working with the fantastic mums I have done and doing my day job made me realise once again just how similar bringing up children and “bringing up” a new business are. They both require very similar skills and temperament. At a Leap 100 event recently the focus was on the issues founders have of allowing their businesses to scale up by potentially taking a bit more of a back seat from the day-to-day. For any investors or even employees of successful start-ups this is a common issue: how to handle the sometimes domineering founder who wants to be in charge of everything, who micromanages and quite simply holds the business back. A very interesting talk by Charlie Mowat from Clean Space gave a no holds barred account of how he personally went through the difficult transition and managed to let go of the day-to-day. He has now managed to hand over some of the responsibility and let his “baby” develop into the teenager it wanted to be. Of course, at the start of the start-up journey you need to do everything for your business – you pour in so much energy, time and commitment to get it on its feet. You hold the keys to its success and without that drive and commitment it probably won’t prosper. Much like children, though, there comes a time when you need to stand back a bit – let it develop not exactly for itself but with other influencing factors. For children, that is their peers, perhaps their teachers, perhaps wider members of the family and friends. For start-ups other team members and sometimes external candidates fulfill this role. Much like your children, you can’t be responsible for every fall or bump in the road – you have to let others help and take responsibility. Just like parents to teenagers, of course you should be there to help and support but it is a very different relationship to that of the baby years. A difficult transition for any parent, or founder to have to go through but one that brings huge rewards and benefits to all involved.