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Choosing the Right Leader for Each Stage in a Company’s Lifecycle

Recently, I had an epiphany when I was working with a company that was struggling in its current state: This company had the wrong leader for the current stage in its lifecycle. The current leader had done a great job getting the company to where it was, but now that it was established, it needed to function in a different manner. The company needed to transition from start-up to growth mode — a transition the current leader was ill-suited to navigate.

In simple terms every company, assuming it survives, proceeds through four stages:

  • Stage One: Founding and creation
  • Stage Two: Growth and maturation
  • Stage Three: Development and expansion of core competencies
  • Stage Four: Exit or monetization

Each of these four stages requires strong leadership, but rarely is a single individual best suited to lead the company at every stage.