Media Business Strategies

The Blog of David Polakoff

Growing Pains

Posted by David Polakoff on February 20, 2009

The Windmills of My Immediate Mind

Media Business Strategies – David Polakoff

Growing Pains

Disclaimer: If I parse my writing here, and avoid generalizing, I’m not going to make my point, so let’s dispense with the political correctness. Left brain and right brain time (You forget which means what?).

Breaking it down, like a left-brainer would: left brain is the logical, analytical side; right brain is the creative, subjective side.

As a media consultant who offers financial, operational, and strategic expertise, I’m the balancing act to the creatives and entrepreneurs; though I have a great appreciation and understanding for the creative’s thoughts and vision (must be the fact that I’m left-handed, which alleges I should be right-brained; as well as the fact that I’m an amateur musician). In partnering with the right brainers, I collaborate to reach equilibrium (though the right brainer in me wants to say “…reach nirvana”).

One of the collaborative moments where left/right brain heads “butt” is that pivotal question of when should the visionary/entrepreneur hand off parts of the business execution to others. Getting this “mother….” “of invention” to let someone else “ hold the baby” is the nice milestone to have achieved; it means the business is growing.

Key elements to transitioning the entrepreneur’s start-up or the corporation’s new business line are the establishment of the (dreaded) organizational chart and the creation of job descriptions. We’ll assume the start-up team has the capabilities to fill these defined roles and now it is time to re-treat from “all hands on deck (I’m also a sailor)” to described roles and responsibilities. This should be a welcome change to the team members because they can now fall into places of what best suits their talents and skills. Plus, it should improve the work flow as decisions and deals now have specific ownership. The process also identifies if new or additional talent is needed.

Now back to invention “mother.” Sure he/she is happy to pass off office management, financial, and business affairs functions, but what about production, sales, technology (assuming we’re in a web/mobile environment), strategy, and investor relations? We’re at the dreaded delegation dilemma.

I chaired an undergraduate committee at my university and when I vented to the faculty advisor that everything fell to me and the committee wasn’t doing anything. She taught me the invaluable lesson of delegation – if you spend the time to teach them how to do the task as you would do it, and explain the role’s importance within the overall goal, you’ll be doing everyone good. My time is freed to do chairmanship duties; the work gets done in the manner expected; and the committee has greater ownership, productivity, and satisfaction in the work of the committee and in playing a contributing role; and there is greater respect for the chairman.

The hardest part of this effort is getting the entrepreneur to realize that the business has reached the point of delegation and a need for assigned roles. Unless functional change occurs, the business has actually lost its start-up momentum and it is stuck in neutral “start-up” gear. The dirty deed of convincing the entrepreneur goes to the person with the left brain and the right-handed punch.

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