Are you familiar with Golden Handcuffs? The idea was developed years ago as a solution to a common workplace question – how can a business keep key employees from leaving? Companies started designing “golden” incentive packages, which included pay, benefits and other perks. The purpose of these packages was to make it difficult for key people to take their knowledge, experience and skills to another company, they became handcuffed.
So, what does that have to do with you? You are the owner of a business, which is successful because of your hard work and sacrifice. No boss is trying to tie you down or tell you what to do, there are no golden handcuffs hanging in your office. Right?
Maybe, or maybe not.
A lot of owners talk about feeling bored, stuck, unmotivated, dissatisfied, unchallenged, discouraged and unhappy – even though they are doing well. Why are they feeling that way? As they grew successful, without them realizing it, the company became their “boss”. They feel trapped even though this boss provides good pay, benefits and other perks (handcuffs).
After being in business for some years it is common for owners to feel like they are working for the business, rather than the business working for them. Because it was a gradual process they do not know how they got in the situation, or how to get out of it. All they know is that they want out of the handcuffs, golden or not. So, how to find the key?
Ask yourself these questions to get started:
- Where is your next success going to come from? Is it professional or personal?
- Do you want to be more active in the business (i.e. growth, new product line, get out and meet the customer, become active in professional associations)?
- Do you want to be less active in the business (i.e. travel, spend time with family, pursue hobbies, become more involved in church)?
- How do you spend the majority of your time? How would you like to spend it?
- Do you have a purpose or calling you want to pursue? Has it changed over the years? Is it stronger or weaker than it was?
- Age and circumstances can change priorities. Are your goals outdated? What should your new ones be?
- What is your financial security like? Will it support the changes you want to make? Can you make changes right away or do you need to plan for them?
- What has kept you stuck up to this point? Who or what do you need to be unstuck (i.e. outside help and support, strategic plan, hire or fire employees, train someone to do all or part of your job)?
- What do you want your legacy to be? How do you make it happen?
It is a good idea to find trusted advisors to talk with. Depending on your answers, you may need family, friends and outside professionals to help you make changes. Finding the key to your golden handcuffs will take work and honesty. But, since you are the one who forged them you have an excellent chance of unlocking them.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: