Sometimes, as your company grows or prepares succession plans, the greatest step you can take as a leader is a step back to reevaluate, says Brian Parker, managing director and co-founder of EP Wealth Advisors.
Experts agree that the skills and knowledge that go into launching a practice are not necessarily the same ones required to effectively guide that practice through maturity and perhaps succession. Those who grow most effectively know when it’s time to involve other voices.
“There's a lot of people that put themselves first, there's a lot of ego involved in … the name on the door,” Parker opined during a session at last week’s DeVoe & Company’s M&A + Succession Summit, in Chicago.
“But if you're really true to yourself and true to your company and your clients, you have to really assess where can you be most helpful,” he added.
“It's setting your ego aside,” said Ryan Shanks, the co-founder and CEO of advisor recruiting firm FA Match, during a session at Carson Group’s Excell conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. “And it's saying that there's actually things inside of this business that I'm not good at,” Shanks added when sharing his views regarding expanding and reshuffling responsibilities.
For Parker, thinking about redistributing responsibilities began when EP Wealth hit $1 billion.
“And that was really the point in time where we realized it wasn't fun anymore,” he said. “Success was actually harming us. We were getting pulled away from the client.”
Parker realized he really liked "playing offense, but I don’t really like playing defense that much.”
With that mindset, the company reshuffled its leadership and continued to grow.
Ron Carson, the founder and CEO of Carson Group, recalled actionable advice from one of his mentors that fell along similar lines.
“Surround yourself with the best people, and get the heck out of their way,” he said during an Excell session. “And I know as entrepreneurs, sometimes it's hard to get out of the way.”
“That’s the magic,” he added. “And your quality of life will soar.”
It’s all about trusting the team you have in place, Carson continued. Say someone else does a task “80% as good in your mind, in your eyes,” he suggested. The team grows, and suddenly one person becomes 10 people, which becomes 15 doing it 80%, he continued.
“And pretty soon, they’re going to do a lot better,” he added. “So just get over that and don’t micromanage.”
Now, there are pieces of the business Carson isn’t as familiar with as he used to be because he has delegated those tasks.
“Jeanie [Carson, Ron's wife] a lot of times will ask me on things I used to dive into and know every little detail,” he said. “I said, ‘I don’t know anymore. And I don’t want to know anymore.’”
The task may be handled how he would have handled it, or it might not be, but either way is fine with Carson.
“Let the team do it,” he says.