You know what they say about bicycles. Or maybe you don’t. Here’s the deal – a bike is a lot of fun until you’re interrupted. Maybe your phone rings or you get a hunger pang. You shift ever so slightly to scratch an itch, and the next thing you know you’re face-down on the ground. If you run into trouble on a bike, there is no one else on board to give you a hand before you come crashing down. Bikes are a lot of fun – they take you places and they’re great exercise, but you can’t live your entire life on one, just like you can’t run your entire business via one central individual.
If you’ve read any management theory books, you’re familiar with the Hub and Spoke Model. This way of structuring a business is especially common in businesses built from the ground up by the founder. The organizational chart at a company that employs the Hub and Spoke Model looks like a bicycle wheel. All points lead to the centre, instead of a hierarchy where multiple levels of management and reporting make up the organization.
In our ebook, Are You Subconsciously Sabotaging Your Business, we discuss the megalomania that founders often suffer from. We’re not talking about your typical megalomaniac – this person is well-intentioned, but obsessive, has no lack of confidence or assertiveness and has trouble delegating. The business is their baby, so it can be hard to let go and allow someone else to steer. Sound familiar? This is how the Hub & Spoke Model is born into a business.
Organizations with the Hub and Spoke-style structure rarely succeed with that model still intact because it puts a lot of risk on the business. If the critical centre point – the hub – breaks, then everything goes awry. There is also an upper limit to growth in these companies because even Superman has to sleep sometimes.
Let’s put this in perspective. Can you imagine if Mark Zuckerberg scoured every Facebook page for those violating the terms of service? What if Bill Gates tested every new Microsoft product himself? These leaders have successful companies because they don’t try to do it all themselves.
So what’s the moral of this story? Don’t set your organization up for failure by insisting that all operations revolve around you. Build a solid, dependable team with clearly defined roles. A key component of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is the idea that no business can succeed without a healthy leadership team. So, when we implement EOS with our clients, we work to create teams that work well together and get the job done. Once those teams are established, it is critical to constantly evaluate their health, remain agile, and adjust roles when necessary.
Keep your eye on the prize and always remember: the prize is much sweeter when you get to split it with a group of the most intelligent, creative, and hardest-working people you know.