Instant MBA: Consider Your Replacement Before You're Ready To Go

Fred Smith


Today’s advice comes from FedEx CEO Fred Smith’s speech at the National Middle Market Summit, covered by CNBC:“If you look at organizational development, its pretty clear that you go through a number of gates. Invariably a company that’s going from a start up to 10, 20, 50 million will have a crisis in management.

The organisation’s needs will outgrow its people. If the entrepreneur is a hands-on type he or she will have a difficult time letting go.”

Whether parting ways with a company is on a founding executive’s radar or simply something he or she tries not to imagine, the fact is, it’s inevitable. If your business will continue on after you retire, or leave to pursue another opportunity, there has be a solid framework in place to sustain it through a regime shift.

The process of ensuring a your business can outlive your tenure can start early, Smith says. Focus on building a positive legacy. Most important, hire talent you’re confident will lead your organisation in an innovative direction, he suggests, name-checking Steve Jobs and “one of his smartest” decisions in bringing Tim Cook on board at Apple.

“Any founder has a great responsibility to the people that work with them to have an effective legacy,” says Smith.

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