Moving from entrepreneur thinking to executive thinking

At some point in any successful entrepreneurs life comes a moment where they have to start delegating things because they can’t be doing everything by themselves. This is a pivotal moment in the early life of an entrepreneur. Delegating tasks to others brings with it possibilities where the company is now capable of producing an output that is more than just a single person could produce.

So in essence the entrepreneur is multiplying his systems and having it run at least partly without him doing the work and thus taking a little bit of load off from himself.

Sadly this is a point where a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck. Hiring that first person to work for you can be such a big leap.

To be frank. Hiring for the first time takes balls, ambition and humbleness.

Balls in pulling the trigger and not procrastinating on the decision or waiting for the perfect moment.
Ambition to grow bigger than yourself.
And humbleness to admit the limitations of your skills and work output.

Essentially when you make your first full time hire you are committing to taking someone under your wing and making a statement: This company can support two people now.

This has been on my mind a bit lately since I just did my first full time hire.

The differences between an entrepreneur and an executive:

1. The executive makes decisions for the company – The entrepreneur makes decisions for himself.

It is a switch in thinking more and more about my company’s finances as it being company’s money and making decisions accordingly. The money is there for the company to do well, it is not the entrepreneurs retirement fund as long as it is in the company. As a result the executive invests the money more objectively and coldly without being too attached to it, the money is less personal.

2. The executive is no longer trying to find a working business model, he is trying to test direction.

This is probably the biggest distinction there is. Whereas the entrepreneur is looking to validate and test his grand ideas – The executive is looking to position his company. The goal of the executive is to make sure it is run by good processes etc.

The executive already has a working business model so instead of exploring options he is exploiting the business model.

3. Leveraging people to run the company.

The executive is using mostly other people to get what you want. Instead of doing things himself, the executive uses delegation and leadership, he uses his brain instead of his muscles to get  to the point where he wants to go.

As the entrepreneur phase is over, they are less and less involved in the day to day operations . The executive has his company work without him. It is the difference between being the COO and the CEO of your company.

4. The executive doesn’t have the focus on himself.

The products need to be deliverable without the executive. You will not see a real CEO next to a production line putting pieces together. That is not the work of an executive.

Instead a CEO will focus on two things:
1. Provide company with direction and identity.
2. Enable people to do their best work.
That is it.

When one becomes an executive and a leader it actually becomes less about them and more about the people. The job will be more about developing people, showing them the road and getting the maximum out of them.

It is in this phase where entrepreneurship becomes more about how to be an awesome leader instead of how to be the best operator you can be. This means that your internal qualities actually start to matter more because they will form the expectations and the standards for others to follow. As a result of one being a founder and a leader his values and attitudes will be reflected through the whole company.

It is not so much about what you do anymore but more and more about who you are.

Once you enable people to do their best work and to take risks you will be delighted about how much talent there actually is around.

It is just common that most people, even if they would make great business people just want the steady paycheck. However in their heart they still love testing ideas, looking at what works and can think a bit outside the box.

These people are golden as they are your front level soldiers that you can grow and work close together with.

So that being said, the goal is actually pretty simple. Become an executive and have a company that can eventually run without you.

Personally I want to get to a point where I invest a focused 135 hours on business.
And that is it. That is the kind of company I am looking to build.

I have noticed that with people the pressure will be on me as the leader in a way that it has never been before. After all I am adding fixed costs to your monthly expenses. And in a sense upping the stakes voluntarily and once you up the stakes you either deliver or you pay for it.

It is a different kind of stress to doing it all yourself but at the same time, I would say it is definitely worth it since with responsibility also comes the perks:
-Work with people that you like and trust.
-Make a BIG impact on peoples lives.
-The ability to delegate activities that aren’t really producing for you.
-Building a team will make you feel less like you are alone in this.

So essentially it makes running a company more satisfying.

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