When it’s time to move on

There are old fools.  Experienced idiots.  People who never learn.  But generally as we progress through careers and lives experiencing all the things that people experience, we learn more about ourselves.  We get to become more expert in who we are and what we’re good at.  And when it’s time to hand over to other people with different skills and experience.

With start-ups, the speed at which the company reaches that point is a measure of how successful the launch team has been.  The ultimate performance metric for a launch CEO is how quickly he or she can progress a business to the next stage, when the job spec of CEO has changed sufficiently that they should recruit someone new.  Disruptive start-ups are not slow moving lifestyle businesses.  They thrive on change, on stepping up at each stage.  If I’m asked to assess a company for a potential investor, and I find a CEO desperately clinging on to a role that’s changed, or an academic who acts as though he’s still in charge of a research team, or other investors who lack ambition, my advice is clear – be wary.  Confidence is about letting go.  Growth is change.

The most satisfying point I reach with a new project or company is when I know I’ve established the foundations that mean it’s no longer dependent on me.  I know that it’s time to move on, for someone else to build the next stage.