If you lost key creative mind, don't lose your mind
When a company is suddenly left without a senior manager or CEO, this is a situation to worry about. No matter how finely-tuned the organization is, the loss of its leader may cause all kind of problems and even bring a company to a full stop.
Of course, serious companies have well-devised succession plan and can jump back on track very quickly, but there is still one situation that can shake any company, no matter how big or powerful it is. This is the loss of the creative mind.
When a key person with a vision that guides the whole company to move forward, is no longer in the company - no matter the reason - well, this is the real problem. Workers will work, managers will manage, but who will set directions for the future? That loss must be approached very seriously because the future of the company may depend on that single position and this is not exaggerating.
There are two possible approaches to that problem, depending whether the company is public or a private one.
If company is public, its managerial team and board of directors will sit down, talk about a candidate they already have in mind, and decide who the new "genius" will be. Maybe there will be some talk about external candidates, but to put company back on track as fast as possible, a second in command will be promoted and that's it. A nice and clean job.
However, in a private company, the situation may get out of control very easily. We must have in mind that all people that created something from scratch are very emotional about their company and when hard times hit they tend to react while they are still hot instead of stopping for a moment and think about the problem.
And this is understandable: founders solved all kinds of problems - especially in the beginning when they are everything, from manufacturer to marketer to manager - and their instinct is to jump when a problem arises.
However, that could lead to panic and the decision of the founder to step in whatever role and take over the job not so suitable for her. This is especially dangerous in two-people company, and there are a lot of them out there, when one founder tries to do absent's job.
But, there is one problem: the company owns its success to the ever-lasting connection between those two people. Their cooperation, joint work, and even arguing, is what makes the company great.
When one soul is left, the other is helpless. And helpless leads to panic. The remaining owner may refuse any advice, even from most trusted employees, and take over duties she's not up to.
That has two consequences: the company suffers, and employees are feeling betrayed. They gave so much to the company and what the founder is saying it that she has no trust in them. The outcome is obvious: the company is going down fast.
So, what to do?
The most reasonable thing would be to step aside and let employees do their job. If you have to find a new creative mind, elevate the second in charge to the position No1 and see how things are unfolding. Maybe you hit a jackpot, maybe you'll need a replacement, but your business will be going on uninterrupted for the time being. Think about a proper replacement, if needed, later when emotions calm down and you have a clear head. ■
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