My role as CEO of Transcend Coffee has been a journey of discovery, even for me. When you start a company as a sole owner / operator, and hold every imaginable position over a period of twelve years, it is difficult to let go of all of the things you are used to doing.
One thing I have learned - the hard way - is that I am not naturally inclined towards the tasks of running an operation. Like any other entrepreneur you acquire skills out of necessity, but this is not a recipe for enduring success. Success in business comes from utilizing and directing innate skills with intentionality, and finding others to join you who possess the skills and talents which you lack.
It took me almost half a decade to figure out that I needed to build a team of talented people, and once assembled, let them loose to do what they did best. Micromanaging is a poison pill buried into the DNA of an organization and eventually, often unexpectedly, it will release its deadly contents and kill a business. When owners micromanage, they become a bottleneck within their business, preventing it from growing into what it might have become. When owners micromanage they stifle a culture of creativity and pride of accomplishment amongst those who work for the organization.
I am not suggesting for a moment that this was an easy thing for me to discover, or harder yet, enable. I was essentially the director of chaos within my business for the first six years, passionately following my whims and creative urges, pulling bewildered employees in ever changing directions. It took facing the brink of bankruptcy (a couple of times) and the prospect of loosing not only my business but everything I owned to open my eyes to my desperate need to let go.
Now twelve years into the journey into the world of coffee, I find myself surrounded by an amazing team of talented folk, who share my passion, and who do things that I never wanted to do. Not only do they do them, they excel at them, and add vibrancy and energy to the fabric and culture of the business. I now find myself freed up to do the things I am good at, dreaming, thinking, pushing boundaries, contemplating the next risk we might tackle, all the while having a contained space to operate in which doesn't result in organizational chaos.