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The Consultancy Growth Network

How to eliminate dependency on you, the owner

Do you really need to be involved in that decision about the expenses for the team get-together, proofreading that report, or, dare we say it, that client meeting?

Reducing dependency on you, the owner, frees you up to focus on your wider strategy. It makes a huge difference to how quickly and how effectively you achieve your objectives. It also impacts how much you enjoy the journey.

So we asked our Growth Experts to share their tips for reducing dependency on you.

About you

  • Continually review how you spend your time and ask yourself, ‘could someone else do this?’.
  • Build your skills as a coach so you can develop people to take on your work and do it well.
  • Conduct regular ‘remove yourself from the picture’ exercises – how would the company continue to function if you weren’t there? What plans and processes need to be in place to ensure continuity? 

About your team

  • Stop relying on consultant downtime to get internal work done. Invest in back-office specialists.
  • Implement a set of team rules that encourage behaviours that drive team productivity, such as blocking out regular time to go somewhere different to think strategically, with no interruptions.
  • Set up internal responsibilities and sign off levels so that only the really big decisions come to you.
  • Alongside empowering others, incentivise them to own things via, for example, share ownership or options at senior levels, or bonus schemes that pull the right levers at mid and lower levels.
  • Ask others for their opinions on topics that normally rest with you, thus gradually pulling them in to behaving like an owner.
  • Create a regularly updated succession plan for your most valuable people. How will you ensure you give them the headroom they need to grow and keep them?
  • Develop a broad-based business development capability through firm-wide sales training, sales incentives and a structured business development process that means you are no longer the primary source of new business.
  • Encourage your staff to build their own profiles – writing blogs/upgrading their bios/featuring in PR/collecting the awards.
  • Make sure your website isn’t presenting you as the source of all wisdom!  Feature other people as much as possible.
  • As far as possible, give someone else the role of leading all internal meetings.
  • Never come away with any actions from meetings unless you really are the only/best person to do them.
  • Invest in the growth and development of those in your team who have the potential to grow with the business. Help them become your future managers and leaders.

About your clients

  • Charge a big premium if clients insist on using you! 
  • Don’t hog all the key client relationships to yourself – have others own them.
  • Always bring a staff member to important meetings. Let them lead the meeting/author the report/do the follow up to build their credibility in the eyes of the client.
  • Talk up your staff to clients. Translated as: promote them as the experts, not you!
  • Set up your project delivery and quality assurance approaches so that you don’t personally need to sign off on deliverables.

Article | Strategy and leadership

Written by

Ali El Moghraby

Head of Marketing

The Consultancy Growth Network