Situation: A company’s CEO wants to segue from rainmaker-project manager to leader, with others taking the lead on projects. He has tried raising prices on his time, but clients are willing to pay the higher price so this hasn’t worked. How does the CEO set boundaries so that he is not involved in day-to-day project management?
Advice from the CEOs:
- The most important question is: where’s the real battle – is it in the client’s or your own head? Is this really a client problem, or are you unwilling to let go? You need to answer this question before alternate strategies will work.
- Look for the right project managers. You will change your hiring when the goal is for you to not be deeply involved.
- Hire people who are better than you.
- Gradually phase existing relationships to others.
- In early work with a new client, set expectations so that your involvement is at the appropriate level and your team handles the heavy lifting.
- Instead of attending meetings in person, use electronics – video conferencing. This saves the travel time for the meeting.
- Don’t respond to client emails too quickly when you are copied – let others respond.
- As one company grew, they invented new roles with high profiles but little work. These roles were figureheads for project leadership.
- Project emails were set up so that all client emails went to the team, as well as the CEO, but the team would then respond to client questions.
- Over time, the CEO was able to “just say no.”