The Transition from Generalizing to Specializing


You know how that goes, right? As an entrepreneur, you started out being everything to every part of your business and maybe you are still in that situation. Depending upon the nature of your business, it is next to impossible to define roles in the start up years; there are a lot of roles needing to be filled, but not enough work in each of them to create a steady job. If this continues into the growth years, it is a recipe for malfunction.

Perhaps you were fortunate to hire an entrepreneur in employee clothing who could troubleshoot, fill many shoes, identify opportunities and who could figure out a way to get it all done. As time goes on, allowing this sense of ownership with no evolution to a clear path, that kind of employee will either burn out or leave for new opportunities, especially if new hires are also vague about how they fit in. It becomes a competition that no one can win.


You need a plan.


If you find yourself in this kind of situation, where people are stepping on each other’s toes and there is no defined sense of responsibility, it’s time to get clear on the roles within your business. The best place to start is having a chat with your start up allstars, if they happen to still be around. They were a huge part in getting your business up and running and by now they know where they want to focus. They will also have a good idea of where the newer hires will be the best fit. Having a number of people in general roles can make it difficult for you to pinpoint the areas where they can shine.

This is also a good time to make some decisions on creating some positions of responsibility. Your allstars might be perfect for taking on the responsibility for different aspects of the business, like marketing, production or office administration. Find out if they are interested before you get the whole team together and include them in the planning process.

What now? Talk it out. Have an idea jam on what the business needs and what roles need to be defined. Let the team know about the newly defined positions of responsibility and who is the go-to person for what.


What about the bruised egos?


Yes, this could get sticky, even with you. Letting go of control is a big step into trust. Everyone in your business is letting go of something in this process and that can be hard. The best way to go is to tell the simple truth – that the way things were going, it was not good for the business or for anyone in it. You are choosing to become a better leader and this is one of the steps.

Not only will you create greater clarity and respect within your team, you will gain greater clarity and respect as a leader.


If you would like to explore the personal motivators and drivers of you and your team, and how this knowledge helps make your workplace work, be sure to get on the mailing list to get notified of the launch of the Workplace That Works workshop series. (Click the link below or in the sidebar.)


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