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The indispensable role of a co-pilot in business


Learn how sharing the cockpit with a Co-CEO can smooth your company's flight to success and stability.

Learn how sharing the cockpit with a Co-CEO can smooth your company's flight to success and stability.

by Brendan Shelper
8. December 2023

Warning! This article is full of aviation puns and references. Continue reading at your own peril.

Navigating the business world alone is a daunting task. It's exciting, sure, but it's also fraught with uncertainties and challenges. This is where the role of a co-CEO becomes a game changer. While consultants can fill gaps temporarily, these relationships are often transient and don't offer the long-term growth and support a true business partner can provide.

My experience as co-CEO of Battle Royal Studios, alongside Judith Hoch, has highlighted a crucial truth: having a co-pilot in business is not just beneficial, it's essential.

In aviation, the role of a co-pilot was instituted for a fundamental reason: to ensure that there is always someone capable and ready to take over control of the aircraft, should the need arise. This principle holds true in the realm of business as well. Having someone to share the cockpit of your enterprise means there's always someone to help you navigate through turbulence and keep the journey on course. 

Creative synergy redefines strategy and strengthens bonds beyond business

In the play of decision-making and strategy in business, having someone who understands the nuances and shares your vision can make all the difference. This individual understands the granular aspects of your business that friends and family may not. They stand with you, aware of your biases, recognising your strengths, and lend a hand over hurdles when exhaustion or apprehension holds you back.

However, within a boutique creative agency like ours, the role of your business ally extends beyond major decisions. It involves continuously revisiting and adjusting the strategic roadmap, guiding each other’s choices to ensure moral integrity, detailed planning, and precise execution. This relationship often transcends the typical 'team' dynamic, evolving into a deep, intrinsic connection, often stronger than the bonds we share with family, given the significant time spent together in professional settings.

Encouraging counter perspectives

The ideal co-pilot isn't necessarily someone you always agree with, but rather someone whose opinions you respect and whose ideals align with yours, even if they evolve over time. This person doesn't have to be someone you love, but you'll likely grow to respect and care for them deeply. Together, you'll experience the highs and lows of business, forming a mutual support system whilst maintaining your individualism.

Finding someone who is ready to invest in you as you are in them can be transformative. Together, you can face challenges head-on, seize life-changing opportunities, and provide each other with the security and encouragement needed to succeed.

As you navigate the business landscape, consider who might be your equivalent of a co-pilot. Identifying this person isn't just about finding a business partner; it's about discovering a collaborator who will share your journey, challenge you, and stand by you through the triumphs and trials of entrepreneurship.

Don’t miss our latest piece! Read our 'Co-CEO Chronicles' and discover Judith Hochs take on our partnership.

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