As a startup founder, is it better to hold onto your role as CEO, or give up the seat to someone who might be better than you — someone who might even earn more money for you and your company?
During a Spotlight Series conversation with Razor Suleman in Toronto, founder Michael Hyatt explained why decided to give up his seat as BlueCat’s CEO to current CEO Michael Harris.
“You can’t anoint somebody a leader.”
Hyatt said when the idea of finding a new CEO came to mind, he considered two main requirements: would a new CEO do a better job than him, and would a new CEO make BlueCat more money?
“My idea is to find people better than me, to replace me, to make me more money,” said Hyatt. “If you could see the transformation that Mike Harris [did], I just sit there and watch it. It’s like a beautiful play.”
Hyatt explained how he is a “day one,” while Harris is a “day two.” For Hyatt, what that means is he’s the founder who believes he can build a company from his bedroom, but Harris is the person who can execute that belief and take the company to the next level.
On how Harris actually became CEO, Hyatt said when Harris showed interest in becoming CEO, Hyatt gave him six months to act as “SVP of everything” and if other staff believed he was CEO, Harris would get the job.
After six months, when Hyatt told his employees he would move to executive chairman, his employees weren’t surprised.
“Boom. Perfect, because he [Harris] made himself the CEO. That was the key… leaders bring armies and leaders make themself the leader,” said Hyatt.
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