Replacing a Rainmaker
One of our clients, call them Highland Technology, has one individual who has, for the last 10 years, brought in more contract funding for our client than anyone else in the company. He is a real rainmaker.
Lately, he has been talking about retiring. For Highland Technology, a small company, it is a scary thought that your main source of contract opportunities and funding will soon no longer be with the company. This is a common problem for many small companies.
The COO of Highland Technology called me in for consultation on how to prepare for this potentially devastating event. After reviewing his situation, my recommendations were:
1. Embrace the inevitable. Don’t wait until he leaves. If the rainmaker is leaving, start preparing now. Maybe even get him involved.
2. Don’t fall into the trap that you have to replace the rainmaker one for one. First, that will be impossible and second, it is not the best thing for the company.
3. Instead, replace the rainmaker with a business development process that doesn’t rely on one person but provides established methods for identifying and capturing new federal contracts for the company.
Basically, Highland Technology should look at the departure of the current rainmaker as an opportunity to reconfigure the way they grow the business to be better prepared for the future.
How does your company handle the loss of a rainmaker?