Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Long Tale: CEO Succession

Here’s an interesting case study of the power of blogging. And it started right here…

Noam Wasserman, a professor at the Harvard Business School, writes an article on CEO succession. I blog about it. Jim Estill of Synnex Canada, a CEO who reads this blog once in a while, leaves a comment about how he handled his evolution from founder to CEO of a $1-billion company.

In Boston, Wasserman finds my blog and mentions it in his blog, Founder Frustrations. He pays special attention to Jim’s comment, since that’s first-hand experience (or primary research, in academic jargon). I saw his post, noted his dissatisfaction with Jim’s answer below, and emailed Jim to let him know.

The result: Jim visits Wasserman’s blog, leaves a comment about how he’s not done yet – his goal is to run a $10-billion company – and then posts more on his own blog about the challenges he’s overcoming as a CEO who needs to keep growing personally even faster than his company.

So there it is: real-time business education, for professors, CEOs and the rest of us, all thanks to the miracle of blogging.

To see Wasserman’s post, along with Jim’s comment, click here.

To read Jim’s new post on "CEO Success - Transitioning from Founder to CEO," click here.

Here are Jim’s main points on successful transitioning (for those who would rather not chase this thread any further):

1 - As always, I need to think bigger.

2 - I need to refine my time systems to handle increased volume.

3 - I need to get other people to make decisions. Organizations fail if every decision needs to be done by one person.

4 - I need to seriously consider where I might add the greatest value and leave areas where the value I could add was low

5 - I need to figure out and address the needs of all my bosses - the customers, the vendors, the staff, head office, etc.

7 - To grow, I needed to give things up.

8 - Larger companies need more replicability. This means good processes that can be repeated. This can be tough on entrepreneurial spirit. But again, if the idea is big enough, then I take the challenge to come up with a process.

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