Oh, I loved the movie, The Intern.  Predictable, yes.  Still…funny and heartwarming.  Best of all, Anne Hathaway’s character discovers…

Wait!  I don’t want to spoil it for you.  However, the story did inspire me to ask you this question:

“Should you fire yourself?”

In his iconic book, Good to Great, Jim Collins asserts that the skills that got you to your current level of success won’t get you to the next level.  That’s a problem, because you are sitting on a “win” when you need to come to terms with this.

Then, all of a sudden, the wheels start to come off the bus.  Your expanding company feels out of control.  You work more and more hours.  There are missed meetings and forgotten calls.  Your team members are burning out, or quitting.  It’s not as much fun to go to work.  You see that point on the horizon, your overarching vision of your company, but you don’t know how to get there.

You wonder if you are the problem.  Maybe you don’t have what it takes to get there.  Sigh.

Is it time to hire a CEO?  Some will say, “Yes!”  Others, me for instance, will say, “Not so fast.”  

I got a call from a  friend of mine, Ally.  She told me that she was ready to bow out of her small business.  She said, “I just need to find someone who can manage the team, hold them accountable, keep an eye on the financials, and run the business day to day.  Then, I can get my life back.”

Ah.  I responded, “Who would that Super Person be?  And how do you just find him or her?”

Ally probably won’t just find Super Person.  She may find a darn good person.  That person may embrace the job and delight in the title of CEO.  At first.  What Ally has not yet done, New CEO may not be able to do either.  So, New CEO becomes a shield, someone to protect Ally from the day to day headaches.  And then New CEO may start to fray around the edges.

Another approach would be to engage the team to reach the next level.   Perhaps Ally could clarify her vision, that point on the horizon.  She could share it with her team, over and over, and work with them to craft a simple business plan.  They could take business classes together.  She could hire a consultant, a trail guide, to help them learn the skills they need to grow the company.  They could watch the webinars, and listen to audios and read classic business books. They could get projects identified, delegated and done.   They could assemble an Organizational Chart…and discuss the boxes that show career growth and opportunity.  Ally could highlight the box that says, CEO, and share how that position will be available some day.

That may or may not be the path for Ally.  She just might find that CEO and shortcut the whole process.   It’s not up to me to decide for her.  I’m presenting these questions to her, to you and to me, to consider.  There is no wrong in any of this.  Only choices and adventures and lessons and stories.  

Because at some point, we all wonder, “Should I fire myself?”

Which brings me back to the movie!  SPOILER ALERT!  

Anne discovers, with the help of the intrepid Robert DeNiro character, that she has what it takes to lead her company.  Sure, she is in over her head.  However, no one will care as much as she does.  The skills…she can learn.  The people…she can magnetize and help develop.  The counsel…she can get from mentors and classes and other CEOs.  The love, the heart, the vision…that she already has.

Maybe, you do, too.  

Is this blog striking a chord for you?

Add your voice to the conversation!  Should you fire yourself?  Or, if you have already…how’s it going?  Comment below…and share this blog with your friends!

xo$, Ellen