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.