Most people never noticed that as one of the fastest growing companies in America was accelerating, its leader stepped down. Nope – it wasn’t because of a mistake or mismanagement. The Chief Operating Officer of Groupon was considered an excellent and well-liked leader. He stepped down because of one reason – he realized that although he’d done a brilliant job of helping launch the company, he wasn’t the guy to take it big. Talk about a “teachable moment.”
As the company was poised for the big time – the culmination of everything he’d been working for – he had the strength and courage to admit someone else would be better for the next level of growth. One of my biggest challenges in consulting organizations is helping them transition from the “mom and pop” stage to the national or global stage.
Very often, when organizations are beginning, everyone jumps in to help – spouses, kids, uncle Roy, neighbors, best friends. But at some point in growth, the organization reaches a point where it’s bigger than uncle Roy can handle. The problem is – because of misguided loyalty, family relationships, friendship, whatever – the leadership refuses to make the hard choices about getting the right help in the right positions.
For Rob Solomon at Groupon, my hat’s off. He understood they needed a different type of leader to take the company to the next level. He’s stepping down with enormous credibility – and no shame or humiliation. I just wish others would listen to this rare example of truly selfless leadership.
Think about it. How many companies, non-profits, churches, ministries, and other organizations are suffering because people in key positions are there because of loyalty and not because of competence?
Without naming names – anyone out there identify?