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Navigating Transitions The Transition From CEO to Consultant
Mergers and acquisitions affect every part of a company, especially the CEO. Many CEOs step into consultant positions to help with the transition between owners. There is a common notion that CEOs enjoy their consulting positions in the lap of luxury, but if you’re a CEO, you probably know that this is rarely the case. In fact, you’re probably worried about what such a transition would mean for your career and how you’d navigate it with grace. Well, if you’ve been reading this newsletter for some time, you know my view on business: It’s all about relationships. Forming strong relationships with your employees will enable you to navigate your transition from CEO to consultant smoothly. As business owners, we spend our entire time identifying ourselves as “CEO.” It’s difficult to identify as “retired CEO” or “semiretired.”You can feel lost, as you may not have the direction you once had. Your drive is diminished because for years, you were driven by the success of the business. Some find not being in charge to be a bigger transition than they thought because they were used to making the tough calls day after day. Their position may have also allowed them to state their concerns or questions immediately when they felt compelled to do so. For some, they’ve been accustomed to this environment for more than 40 years. To mitigate the transition, some try to focus on their consultant role. But this is a role that requires less attention to the day-to-day operations of the business. It’s more about taking key customers to lunch and addressing issues as they come up. For some consultants, their pay varies on the amount of revenue the business generates, so addressing internal issues, such as defective products, is more pertinent. You may find employees don’t respond as quickly to your suggestions or requests as a consultant. This, in part, is due to the fact you’re not in charge. But on the other hand, it may be due to the relationship you have with the staff. “This is why it’s important to build those lasting relationships with your employees while you still can. When approached with a problem or situation with your employees, treat them as colleagues, not as their boss.”
This is why it’s important to build those lasting relationships with your employees while you still can. When approached with a problem or situation with your employees, treat them as a colleague, not as a boss. Value the employee’s input, even if you disagree with their opinion. Listen to them and recognize where they’re coming from. This way, when an issue does crop up with the company post-sale, you’re that much more effective. You can address the issue head-on in an open dialogue with the employees directly involved. Additionally, this lets you determine or even fix the problem at hand, allowing you to be that much more effective for the new CEO and the company you’ve spent your entire life building. To ease a potential transition, ensure you’re doing your part to show your appreciation to your staff and others in the new year. Let them know how much you value them for helping you make your company as successful as it is. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your transition, let me know. I’m always here to help, even if that means just being a sounding board for you and your company.
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