DILEMMA: I have just taken over a weaker competitor and scaled up the business. We now have two locations, so I expect I'll have to be less hands-on with the day-to-day management. How am I going to be sure I know what's going on?
ISSUES: The central issues relate to your strategy, how you will organise the business, the plumbing of communications and your own leadership style.
What sort of company do you want to be? Do you plan to grow even bigger or not? Do you want to create a 'one-room company' with a high degree of interaction between locations, or can the sites operate in isolation?
The best way to avoid overcomplicating things and to keep the energy and momentum of a winning team is to ensure that you and everyone else are clear about your objectives. Work out what people need to know to do their job and to help you build a cohesive, motivated team.
What information do you need to run the company? What you see and hear is often more powerful than what you read, so consider what form you want things in and how much time you need to spend in each place and with whom.
Experiment, but change things quickly if they don't work out.
Good communications aren't just about sensible plumbing. Attitude and values are just as important. What tone will you set, and is your top team bought in? The inevitable rivalry of a competitive takeover and the 'conquering hero' syndrome are easy traps. People need guidance about how to treat their new colleagues. They will take their lead from you, so be sure you know what impression you are creating.
Remember, you don't have to do everything yourself. A move like this will be seen by the stars in both locations as an opportunity to develop.
If you limit this opportunity you risk losing them, putting yourself under unnecessary pressure and being seen as a control freak. So you'll have to decide what you are ready to let go of.
- Be clear about your strategic aims and think hard about the culture you want to build.
- Make sure you have a fantastic assistant, then plan, experiment and adapt.
- Finally, remember you won't be the only person riding the transition rollercoaster. While you're at the front screaming 'yee-hah!' there are probably others at the back feeling queasy.