Creating a successful business that will continue growing and expanding even after you’ve stepped down from your role is a goal we see a lot among our clients. 


This is called “legacy”.


And every step you take, should bring you closer to the point in your career where you can be sure the next leader will have your business’s best interest in mind. Regardless of when, you need to have an action plan set up in place, even if it’s 10 years in advance.


In our latest episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about intentional leadership turn, which is part of the Business Hierarchy of Needs by Mike Michalowicz. Keep reading this article to learn everything you need to know about it!


Building a legacy: what does it mean?


Amalie: The intentional leadership turn is really the mark of creating a legacy. I think all along all of the things that you do leading up to the point where you’re considering a leadership turn are preparing your business to build a legacy.


With this topic, Mike Michalowicz talks about putting together a plan. Now, obviously, you might be thinking about this well before you anticipate leaving, but the idea is to 1) have the goal of wanting to build a legacy and 2) have the plan to put your business in a place where it will continue on after you. And maybe that isn’t your goal, and that’s fine. But if it is, it is an important thing to consider, because intentional leadership turn is going to take time, because you’re going to have to think about who is going to take over, what that structure looks like, there’s a lot of elements that will go into creating that plan.


Another thing to consider is that there’s gonna be some shock to the ego to think about if your name and face have been on the front of the business for so long. What you become is the messenger instead of the one man show or the one woman show, and so your name, whether you rename it, you’re going to move into the background a little bit if you’re working with someone that’s at this point in the business. 


How to prepare your team for a leadership turn


I think the important thing to consider here and Mike Michalowicz says in the book, how can we keep our mission solid and our executive team fluid? It’s important when you’re at this place to really lean into your team, and ask yourself: 

  • What does that look like? 
  • What do they need to know? 
  • What do they need to learn? 
  • How do you groom them to turn over with you to lead the company? 
  • What does the timeline look like?

And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re leaving in six months, but you want to put people in your executive team that are fit for the position of taking over the leadership when you’re gone, but also are trained to do that right. 


Something that Mike mentions in the book is that you want to continue to groom these people and train them and bring them up through your business and with the understanding that if you decide not to turn over the leadership, there’s going to come a point where they’re going to possibly leave and it would be ideal if you as the business owner help them get that position for another business.


A real life example 


He mentioned the example of Kat Cole, who was the former Hooters waitress, who then became the Vice President of Hooters. She became the president of Cinnabon for four years, then she was promoted to the president of the company that owns Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s, and although she didn’t stay with Hooters, she did learn the skills and she became good at her job, and so then she moved on to other companies and was successful there. I think that’s something that as the owner of a business, who is considering a leadership turn, understand that if that person becomes ready for that leadership role prior to you being ready to turn over, you’ve now groomed them for the leadership position, and it would only be right for them to move on to another business.


This is a critical thing, when you’re thinking about the legacy of your business, especially when you realize that you might not be part of it forever. When you first start out, you might not be thinking about that, but 5-10 years down the road, you might start thinking about, “okay, what does it look like when I’m ready to retire? Even if it’s just stepping away, and being less involved, what does that look like? And what does that mean for the business?” Something like that doesn’t take a couple of months, it takes years, it takes time for training people and having people in different positions, learning different skills and the different operations of the business. It takes time to understand and learn the management and how to manage the business.


In conclusion…


If you’re at this place, or if you’re even thinking about it, consider what it might look like, put a plan together, and then start executing on that. And that plan might just look like, “who can I give more responsibility to? Who can I teach how to do these different operations?” And still thinking about things that you can take off your plate and give to someone else and see how they do at it. That will be a huge indicator on how they will do as a leader, and whether you would want to turn over leadership to them. Or if you would be looking externally, ask yourself what are your requirements, what expectations do you have? And then there’s definitely going to have to be some release of control as well, when you decide to take a step back, you really have to release control and let people take over, knowing that they have the business’ best interest in mind.


And that’s it for today! We hope this interview has been as helpful to you as it was to us. See you on the next episode!


To listen to the full episode click here.


If you have any questions or want to reach out to us, message us at and we’ll get in touch with you.


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