What To Look For In Your Right Hand Leader

Want to Scale Your Business? How to Choose Your Ideal Right Hand Lead

lean dream team loyb podcast sustainable scaling May 02, 2023

Are you a founder stuck in the day-to-day operations of your business?

Do you feel like you have to make every decision... 

Or like you're the only one who understands the vision and direction of your business enough to make those decisions and get the right things done... 

Maybe you haven't been able to find a right-hand person you can trust...

Or you have someone, but find there is still way too much dependent on YOU. 

If so, you're not alone.

As a founder/CEO, it’s easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging every decision (especially if you've sacrificed and  put so much of yourself into your company).

To create more room for growth, and space for a high performing team, you need to embrace a concept we call "inspired ownership". 

Inspired ownership utilizes an empowered approach, asking team members to take ownership of the results for the business. When this happens, it creates an effective and collaborative approach, rather than constantly delegating which can naturally lead to micromanagement. 

Additionally, as a founder, it's easy to feel like you're the only one who truly understands the vision and direction of your business.

However, to create the freedom and the flexibility that so many of us desire, it is critical your find your trusted right-hand person who can:

  • oversee the different aspects of your business
  • delegate tasks to the appropriate experts, and
  • ensure that you're working collaboratively toward your overall goals.

But not just any person...there is a very specific type of person you want as your right-hand and most people get it wrong.

The trick is to find someone who can think strategically and understand how all the different aspects of the business fit together. Many people in traditional operations roles have not had the opportunity to think strategically, but with the right guidance and training, they can develop these skills.

Conversely, creative-minded individuals can also make exceptional strategy and operations leaders if they can understand operations and lean on their creative strengths. Having someone who truly understands the business and thinks like the founder can make operations more efficient and streamlined.

In this interview, I am bringing on my absolutely amazing rockstar team member, Annie P. Ruggles. Annie is my fractional CMO and the founder of Quirk Works Consulting & The Non-Sleazy Sales Academy, where she harnessed her Hulk-like disdain for hard-sales, tacky self-promotion, and overly competitive sleazeballs as inspiration to help people find better ways to grow their small business.  

Join us as we dive into: 

🔹 The concept of inspired ownership over delegation

🔹 How hiring a strategy and operations leader (SOL™), can help bridge the gap between the visionary and the operations implementor to simplify and lean out operations.

🔹  How to identify the qualities required for your Strategy & Operations Leader (SOL™)


As a founder, it's easy to feel like you're the only one who truly understands the vision and direction of your business. 


It’s true that most founders/CEO’s are natural visionaries. 

We live in a place of possibility, ideation and innovation. 

Our ops people (who we typically bring in as our right hand person) live in a world of planning, in constraints, in measurements, and consistency. 

Two really different, but necessary ways to approach business. 

Which is great because you need that counterbalance.

But oftentimes, there is a gap that leaves you, the founder, responsible for making many of the strategic business decisions. 

And the real problem is that the gap between vision and implementation creates more work for you in the business and less time to focus on your big bold visionary work. 

The solution?

To create your SOL™, the Strategic Operations lead

Many of us started as an entrepreneur or founder who had to wear “all the hats.

And, as time went on, we brought in the needed support to help us grow; first a VA, then a PM and finally a OBM or COO. 

Ultimately many of us have our “lead” that serves as our right hand.

And often, these individuals come from an “operations” background; many from corporate. 

Many traditionally trained ops people are incredibly capable, but haven't had the opportunity to focus on strategy in combination with project management or task-oriented work in a traditional environment. 

And if they came from corporate, they most certainly are never taught how to handle the dynamic, very fast paced world of entrepreneurship, where ideas are flying at them at all different points in time. Things change so quickly that by the time they built out their perfect plan and created their system, it's entirely different. 

All of this is can lead to conflict when you are looking for a more strategic partner.

And frustration when the business doesn't achieve the momentum in the way that you need to in order to scale. 

On the flip side, sometimes you have a more creative minded person, but their strengths might not include rolling up their sleeves and creating your processes or documenting your systems. 

When you find (or more often create) your SOL™, you blend strategy and operations, which bridges the gap between the visionary and the right hand. 

Without that strategic lead, I see so many founders struggling to scale.

Your SOL™ is a critical component because: 

  • You need support to implement your big bold vision, but this isn't a role that can be filled by just anyone, and it's important to take the time to find the right fit.
  • You need a right-hand who understands how all of the different pieces of the puzzle fit together to actually implement and realize that vision. 
  • You need a lead who strategically understands all nine of the engines that it takes to sustainably scale a business. 
  • You need that person who looks holistically across all facets of your business and understands what needs to happen, how it needs to happen, who needs to do it and why. 
  • They should also be someone who is entrepreneurial-minded and understands the dynamic of a startup or small business. 



You might be thinking...isn't this similar to my role? 

And, your right, there is synergy in the collaboration of the two roles. 

From experience, I will tell you that having a strategic operations lead makes the biggest difference in

  • scaling your business sustainably,
  • in your autonomy,
  • in your ability to truly feel like you have somebody that you can trust to run things, to implement things, and
  • to bring your vision to life without you having to check in all the time.

And, here's the good news. 

A lot of people who are "ops-minded" actually have this capability. 

They've just never had the opportunity to actually unearth it or to explore that side of their skill set. 

They need to understand what needs to be done and how it all fits together.

Plus, many of them THRIVE when allowed to think strategically because it gives them completely different appreciation for your operations. 

Traditionally, this hasn’t been a methodology that's been developed our taught -- until now. 

This is what we teach inside Simply to Scale

We look at who you have, how to maximize their strengths to get you out of the delegation trap and surround you with people with whom you can foster inspired ownership.

Summing it up: the SOL™ role is not one to be taken lightly, and finding the right person for this position can make all the difference in the success of your business.

By embracing the concept of inspired ownership and empowering your team members to take ownership of their work, you can create a more collaborative and engaged team.

And by bringing on a strong right-hand person who understands your vision and can oversee the different aspects of your business, you can achieve the freedom and flexibility you need to take your business to the next level.

We would love to hear your thoughts, let us know in the comments below. 



  • We are now accepting Visionary CEOs and their right-hand Ops Leads into our signature Simplify to Scale mentorship program. Learn more and join us at leanoutmethod.com/scale.


by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast


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