On a recent project with a long-time partner of the Huddle Up Group, as we finished our final presentation and packed up to head home, the partner thanked us for coming to their destination and then said something interesting. She said, “Thanks for coming here Jon, quite frankly I didn’t think you would be on this project given that we are a small community.” In reality, given that our relationship with this particular person goes back a long way, there was no chance I was going to pawn this project off on anyone else.
Soon after this occurrence, as my wife and I were binge watching The Crown on Netflix, an interesting thing happened in one of the episodes. A big political challenge for the United Kingdom surfaced from another nation. As Queen Elizabeth, her key consultants, and the Prime Minister of England were discussing how to diffuse the matter, the Queen made it clear that she would be going on a plane to try and fix things. In making her decision clear to the others in the room, the Queen said, “Some countries are too important to send the understudy” (meaning her husband Prince Phillip).
This comment, albeit from a television series, hit home with us. While I’m trying to travel less and be at home more, as the Founder of our company, there is a certain responsibility in being visible to our key partners. Not sometimes, or most times, but all the time. Which then presents its own conundrum…..
When is okay to stand down and have others lead, and when is it imperative that the Founder and CEO participate?
This is a challenge for many leaders, and one that, quite frankly, we battle with every day. My team at HUG is spectacularly talented and can handle most if not all of the projects we touch without me. So that isn’t the issue. The issue is when your name is “on the door” when is okay to NOT be part of everything that is going on?
I’ve posed that question to numerous people I lean on for guidance. The most common answer is, “You will figure it out.” I have to say, this is a tough one and I’m not sure when the light will go on and the solution will present itself. While we have made some small moves that check all the boxes on this topic, the golden answer hasn’t shown itself yet.
Most of the Monday Huddle Ups we try to provide case studies, best practices, and solutions to problems. This week, we simply pose a question.
How do you figure out when the “Crown” has to plug in and when can it step aside? Not to say any of us are leaders of nations, we are talking sports here. However the question remains relevant.