Growing the Flock and Letting them Fly

July 23, 2015 By Tom

I’ve been getting to know my desk pretty well recently

Somewhere along the way, I’ve phased myself out of my original job. Welcome to entrepreneurship, right?

Now, that’s funny to say as I sit here writing this at 5AM on a Thursday morning catching up on email and report filings as I wait for the gym to open to sneak in my morning workout, because my workload hasn’t changed at all, in fact, it’s increased, but it’s shifted.

I turned a team loose this week at work without me, or even my other director, for the first time. Tossed the keys to the new guy and told him it was his show to run. The only time I’ve done something like that before has been when I’ve been traveling and programs had to happen without me.

As we prepare for our second team to come online (and team three not far behind), I’ve come to terms with the fact my role has shifted from being at every program site and running their operations to doing what I’m really good at; building relationships and cultivating corporate engagement to continue to grow my organization. I suppose this is a situation that every founder eventually hopes to find himself in, but that doesn’t make it any less weird to me. The future of my beloved brand now is in control of others and how they represent it—that’s scary as hell.

Even as we grow, I plan on being at program sites the vast majority of the time. However, the reality is it will be in a supplemental capacity. It won’t be “my team” in the sense that I’m running the daily operations, I’ll leave the Team Leader to the operations and I’ll be more in the background.

It’s not just a transition in terms of adding staff and growing Nine13, it’s a huge transition for me personally as well. Growth is good, change is good, but it definitely means adapting for both myself and my staff.

And making sure I have awesome and incredible folks working at Nine13.

I love the business side of what I do and all of our corporate partners. I get to call people whom I have much respect for my peers. I get to create new ideas and concepts and implement them across our system. And of course, I have the thrill of the hunt when it comes to getting new partners engaged with us and my love of the process that comes with that. I’m fortunate that this is the situation I find myself in as it means we’ve gotten to a point not every young organization sees.

I’ve got a few celebratory beers ready to be opened as we announce team two and as I continue to see my vision grow into something that is much bigger than many thought possible…and I think that those beverages will represent a whole lot of joy!

So, fellow founders and executive folks, what are your experiences with growing your flock of employees and finding yourself taking on new roles and stepping back from old roles? Does it ever stop being a little weird?

Let’s crack these celebratory beers open soon….