The decision to bring an external managing director into your own company requires a change in the owner’s leadership behavior.
In one of our client’ companies, this decision was made some time ago – with the best of intentions and a disastrous outcome!
The owner of a medium-sized company hired a managing director for a new subsidiary for the first time and renounced the usual board position himself. He had decided to do so for a variety of reasons and postulated that competence and responsibility were inseparable. The newcomer could and must manage his area of responsibility independently.
This sounded interesting to the “new guy”. He had gained second-tier experience with a larger competitor and now wanted to have overall responsibility.
Development is a management task – even at the top
After a few months, the new manager was confronted with a rather trivial problem. A customer had special price ideas and he told his owner about it rather casually at a meeting. In return, he immediately received a lecture on how to solve such problems “in our company”. And the boss showed the manager how it’s done: Call the customer, negotiate, done!
The classic: Mister Fix it! And over the next few months, this development continued. The manager reported how he wanted to do something, Mister Fix-it struck again. Of course, with the best of intentions, after all, he was solving the task in the interest of the company.
The owner dismantled his managing director by every trick in the book. In the circle of the management and the advisory board, he liked to tell them regularly that he had to show the managing director how to do it again, obviously he didn’t know, he’s just not an entrepreneur, he still has a lot to learn.
Unreflective behavior takes its toll – preparation and clarity
The owner introduced the first shareholders’ meeting by saying that he didn’t know why the company had a managing director when he had to do everything himself. Even the customers were now calling him about price fixing! The CFO, who was present, then had the task of explaining the – naturally bad – results in his area of responsibility to the managing director. And again, Mister Fix-it did not explain what he expected as the owner, but what was to be done and how.
The new guy now did what he had learned in his previous jobs: position in the second row, taking orders and not telling anyone about his ideas. He buried his head in the sand, well paid, and did duty by the book. He had long since buried his wishes for the new job. The owner, on the other hand, complained to the advisory board: “Strange, the new guy started so well and now this!
In our consulting projects we see time and again how little prepared owners and managing partners want to change management constellations. THE MAK’ED TEAM takes into account all aspects that are necessary for successful change, especially in organizational, growth and structuring projects. Our external position naturally makes it easier for us to address such sensitive issues in advance. Early and appreciative discussions about the owner’s role, which is changing due to his own decisions, help to find the right solution and avoid disappointment.
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