A team is a group of people cooperating to achieve a purpose. Your entire organization makes up your team. A management team, of course, is a group of managers. And a strategic management team is a group of senior managers responsible for the strategic management of a business. But here’s something you may not know: assembling a strategic management team is your ticket to freedom.
Why is a strategic management team so critical? First, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. From the entrepreneurial mindset, you are committed to building a business that is not only profitable, but also marketable. By creating a turn-key business—a franchise prototype— you intentionally develop your business to run successfully, profitably and predictably without you. If it can run without you, then you can choose when, how and if you’ll work in the business. If you’re an artist and you like to produce your art, great! Build your business for other people to run so that you can concentrate only on creating the art you love. If you’re ultimate goal is to get free of your business (to start something new or maybe just sit on a beach watching the surf roll in) then build your business with that goal in mind.
The creation and development of a strategic management team is the ideal mechanism for enabling you, the owner, to get free from the business because it ensures that strategic management is built into the business. With the right strategic management team in place, you’ve given yourself the safety net to remove yourself from the daily activities of running the business.
What is a strategic management team?
A strategic management team is not about assembling all of your managers to make group decisions. Anyone who’s worked in a large organization will tell you that management by a group is slower, more fragmented, and more complex than management by an individual.
Rather, we’re talking about creating a group of senior-level managers who are focused on the long-term and complex issues; a team ideally suited for decision making. Strategic management has a different, more deliberate pace than operational/tactical management. The strategic management team will help you make the weightier decisions, the decisions with greater, long-term consequences.
A strategic management team will typically consist of the CEO, a small number of key managers, and maybe an outside advisor or two. There is no steadfast rule on the size of your strategic management team; it will depend on the size of your organization.
What does a strategic management team do?
As the owner and CEO of your business, you are the ultimate decision maker. But with a strategic management team, you will gain from their collective knowledge and experience. You’ll be exposed to a diversity of viewpoints and interpretations; they’ll present you with a wider variety of alternatives than you, yourself could come up with.
They can help you with:
- Long-term plans and budgets
- Tracking of overall business indicators
- Business policies
- Major projects
- Key recruiting, hiring, and terminations
- High-level decisions
And in a small business...
If you have a very small business, you may not have a single senior-level manager, let alone senior management.
While it may be beneficial for you to seek periodic advice from friends, family, maybe even a technician working with you, these people can not replace a strategic management team. When you think long term, how well equipped are these acquaintances to deal with the strategic decisions that need to be made in your business? What are their levels of experience with running a business, strategic planning, marketing, and/or personnel management?
In the short-term, you may have to rely on yourself (after all, you are the entrepreneur at the center of this) and then turn to your business advisors for area expertise such as your accountant, your lawyer, your business coach, your bookkeeper, etc. etc. Keep in mind however, that you’ll never be able to transfer the key functions you perform in your business to any of these people in a way that will support your long-term goals.
The point here is to get free of your business, and to do that, you need to develop it to the point where the company can at least support one management-level executive. In that case, rather than a full team, the company may rely on just you and one other manager (somebody you could eventually transfer responsibility to) for guidance, long-term planning, and decision making.
It's about replacing yourself
Let’s circle back to the idea we started with. Your strategic management team is your ticket to freedom because by building a team who can conduct the strategic management of your business, you’ll be able to gradually transfer more and more responsibility to that management team. At some point, you’ll either be able to promote a manager to CEO, or hire an outsider to take that position and… drum roll please… replace you.
That’s right! Eventually, you’ll become completely free of your business. At that point it’ll be your choice as to whether you remove yourself from the business, sell it, or retain your title as chairman and maintain your “remote control” oversight of the company.
Whatever you decide to do, a strategic management team is the principle way your business will get free of you while you’re getting free of it.