AKINYEMI: So, you’ve started that business, now it’s time to let others run it

Thursday November 21 2019

Planters are normally characterised by impatience.

Planters” are normally characterised by impatience. They are driven by the bottom line. They can be too blunt and just want to get the job done. SHUTTERSTOCK 

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Many businesses lack clear succession plans for fear of being swindled or taken advantage of.

However, thieves and swindlers have always been and will always be with us. This should not be an excuse not to develop proper structures to ensure that our pet dreams become timeless brands. People have automobile accidents but that has not stopped us from travelling in them.

To succeed, one must adhere to Socrates’ “Man know Thyself” philosophy. One must also appreciate that life has seasons and phases.

Just because you were great at a task at one particular time of your life does not guarantee that years down the line you will still be great. The ability to know yourself and read the times is one of the most vital for business sustainability.

The Bible gives an interesting demarcation between capabilities. Some are called to plant while others are called to water and this represents different temperaments for business.

Some are gifted at starting things, they are the planters. The temperament required for that is totally different from that for people who water—or who nurture a business.


The planters are normally characterised by impatience. They are driven by the bottom line. They can be too blunt and just want to get the job done.

The irony is that they are also likely to be very charismatic and through their charm are able to open doors. However, many of them tend to be introverted but they are able to put on a professional extroverted appearance.

The people who water have a very different. They are administrators par excellence. They have the patience and attention to detail that planters could lack. They are very patient and go to places that planters would normally not go to. They do not have the roughness of the planters. They do not need it. The planters have had to break fallow ground and prepare things for those who come to water and nurture.

Plenty of evidence shows that when a planter overstays their tenure and does not engage the services of those who water companies, they are more likely to run their dreams to the ground.

History is full of examples of companies started and destroyed by visionary starters. They did not know when their season as planters needed to give way to a new season of waterers and nurturers.

Another way of classifying these two roles is to look at them as the “Founders Temperament” and the “Growers Temperament.”

Which are you? A planter or a waterer? A founder or a grower?

If you do not know your limitations, life will reveal them to you the hard way. If you are a starter, surround yourself with growers or else you will destroy what you started.

The flip side is also valid. Some people will never start a business, but will thrive in firms started by others. However, because we live in a world where the topic of entrepreneurship is so widely talked about many nurturers—not knowing that they are meant to water what others have started—go out into the world of entrepreneurship and they fail badly because they do not have the temperament for it.

Please note that this is not a weakness. It is just a sign that they are meant to be placed differently. Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur.

If everyone was an entrepreneur, who would they employ? We need to shout loudly about intrapreneurship as much as we shout about entrepreneurship.

The upper middle class in most nations are not made up of entrepreneurs but of intrapreneurs. These are people who have identified their gift to nurture and water what has been planted by others.

Today, the greatest companies in the world like Microsoft, Google, Apple and Coca-Cola are run by intrapreneurs. This is the only way to preserve brands and ensure that they remain timeless.

These companies are not run by their founders. They are run by people who are gifted administrators and who know how to take the company to the next level. They are inspired by the visionaries but they as growers put the roots in place.

A company full of visionaries with no growers will always have dreams, but none will take root and their chances of becoming timeless brands reduce by the minute.

Wale Akinyemi is the chief transformation officer, PowerTalks