How can we clarify roles among leadership in a small, but growing, consulting/technology company?
We are a small consulting/technology company (15 employees) and currently have a CEO, COO, CFO and CTO. I'm the COO but my ability to perform the true tasks of a COO is limited because I have my own client work. Am I right in believing that I need to relinquish client duties (not just overseeing delivery of services but actually doing work), or are we still too small? Our CFO is a bit worried about our growing indirect costs.
First, realize you are still a relatively small company and too much emphasis is being placed on a seeming need for titles. The real need is to generate business and to draw up an organizational chart of how your business will look when you get to the size you want the business to be. Your name will be in the COO box--but it will be in others as well. And until you are big enough to hire for those positions, you will need to fill those roles (and others will need to fill their multiple roles as well).
The key is to find a model that works for your company, in your industry, and realize that there have to be people working in specific roles being led by one leader--not necessarily by multiple managers.
Consulting businesses thrive on finding individuals who develop great relationships with clients. To find those people, however, you need to be clear on your own organizational structure and in creating a company culture that attracts and retains those individuals.
Developing ownership's roles and goals is a start to creating that culture.