All MBOs are different. They can be motivated for a range of reasons – professional and personal. Often they are driven by a desire for change with less focus on the practical implications involved once the new management is in place.
Having seen several MBOs and led one myself five years ago, I’ve learnt that successful MBOs have several factors in common.
1. Stay true to your vision
MBOs are a challenging time. Once the ink has dried and the initial high of taking over a business has subsided, an element of re-building needs to take place. This is where the hard work starts; your focus will be on getting the basics of running the business right from an operational and strategic perspective. In these busy post-MBO months it’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day detail so staying focused is vital.
Work with your leadership team to ensure that you go back to the reasons why you led an MBO in the first place, re-connect with that original vision on a weekly if not daily basis. Our reasons were grounded in growth, enhancement and professionalisation of the business. Having that bigger picture certainly helped keep us on track for the first few months.
2. Keep good leadership at the front of your mind and encourage feedback
Most MBOs are instigated by a belief that a business has so much more to achieve. Delivering change takes great leadership and courage – it’s less about motivating people to do what they were already doing, more about encouraging and inspiring them to do something new and different.
Engaging in a culture of feedback with your team is crucial. All feedback should be seen as positive as its key if you want to improve. Some points you may not agree with but others could make a huge difference to your business. Ultimately, it helps you to grow.
Engage your people at all levels: if an MBO is about taking control of your own destiny, it’s also about taking your team’s future in your hands. Communicate the opportunity to your team, create new ways of working for them and help them see what their specific role is in working towards a shared vision.
Through leadership you can change the culture of your business and ensure that you have an engaged and motivated team behind you.
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