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Train from Within, Develop Loyalty

The thoughts of Richard Osborne on many subjects over the years.

Train from Within, Develop Loyalty

Last week I made one of the most difficult decisions of my Entrepreneurial Career, I changed my accountant. I’ll tell you a little bit more about that another time, but for now I want to tell you about a disagreement I had with my new accountant .. and why I think he is wrong, although right in many ways.

The case is this, I am in the process of developing a member of my staff to take over the reigns of one of my businesses. This project is likely to take 5 years to complete, by which time she’ll have an equity stake in the business, and received all the training and support she will need to do a great job. She will be loyal, she’ll know the business inside and out, and she’ll share the ethos and ethics of the business to run it successfully whilst maintaining the company image and reputation as I have built it.

My new accountants argument was that I should have recruited a Managing Director to come in at the top to take over the business almost immediately. This would free me up immediately to focus on my other business interests, which is something I don’t have a lot of time to do at the moment but wish that I did.

So why is he wrong? He is wrong because this new MD will be monetarily focused, and will more than likely leave as soon as someone offers more money. This new MD won’t know my business the way someone who has worked in it for a few a years will, and want to make their mark. More importantly for me though, this new person coming in above my staff who have always reported direct to me will upset the balance and probably put a few noses out of joint. I could end up losing some important staff in the process.

However, why is my new accountant right? He is right because in the cold hard world of business when the core focus is profit his method is the right thing to do. If I want to be extremely wealthy, and my businesses are just a way to make myself more money, then I should not be so focused on keeping people happy but more focused in building my wealth.

Unfortunately for my accountant though, that just isn’t me. I make a nice living, I am happy with my lifestyle, so I’m happy to put myself out to further the career of my staff who are loyal and supportive of me. If that means I have to work a few extra hours, if I don’t have the time I’d like to devote to new business projects, I don’t mind because I know in the long run it will pay dividends! My new MD will be a lot more loyal than someone I could poach from another business.

So what kind of Entrepreneur are you? There is no right or wrong decision to make in a situation like this, just a right or wrong decision for you as an individual. Would you bring in a new director to run your business, or would you identify a hungry individual within the business to train and promote?

One Comment

  1. May 5, 2008

    Good Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.

    Aaron Wakling