Troy Waugh, Founder and CEO of The Rainmaker Companies, recently announced a shift in leadership of the alliance group he started 22 years ago. As part of the succession plan, Dan Brooks, CPA will replace Waugh, CPA, MBA as the new CEO and lead the group with President Angie Grissom. Scott Bradbary, Patrick Pruett and Adelaide Ness will also serve as part of the group’s executive leadership.
For the past 12 years, Grissom has worked for the company, which provides training consulting and alliance services to accounting and consulting professionals. Her most recent appointments include president and COO, which she has held for the past several years. Bradbary, Pruett and Ness have all been with the company for at least eight years, working closely with Waugh.
“Over the past 10 to 12 years, I have been able to attract an extraordinary group of people. Angie, Scott, Patrick and Adelaide are all very experienced and savvy. They are great communicators and I know they will take the firm to new heights,” said Waugh.
Brooks may be the latest member to join the team, but he’s no stranger to the firm, having partnered with them through the McGladrey Alliance. Brooks started and grew the consulting service to include more than 100 firms. He also brings more than 30 years of industry experience in accounting and auditing.
“I’ve known Dan for 20 years and we have worked with firms in the past that are a part of the McGladrey Alliance. I believe it is a testament to what we have built here to have a former business partner join our group,” said Waugh.
Waugh believes this transition is key to the continued success of the firm, and generally recommends businesses transition leadership every 8 to 10 years. Once the decision had been made that he would step down, Waugh spent the latter part of 2013 working with the team to create a succession.
“Every business needs a new interjection of energy after a while. It is up to whoever’s leading to either come up with ways to create new energy within the company or step back and let someone else interject that new energy,” says Waugh. “For me, I’ve been feeling for the past two to three years that it was time for a change. The team that we have now is very creative and aggressive. Not only will this help their growth, but it will also let them put new energy back into the business.”
While Waugh is surely proud of the team’s accomplishments and strategy moving forward, he admits it hasn’t been entirely easy to step down. Having led the company from its inception 22 years ago, Waugh had to have what he calls “head and heart” conversations about his decision.
“From an emotional standpoint, this was difficult. My heart would say, ‘You've built this company. This is your baby. Hang on to it.’ But, my head would say, ‘This baby is 22 years old. It's time to let it go. Let it fly out the nest.’ I would go back and forth between what my heart wanted and what my head knew. Ultimately, I know this team is well-trained to take over. I’m also staying with them and continuing with my consulting clients. It’s the best of both worlds.”
In the end, leaders shouldn’t let their feelings rule their business decisions, says Waugh. It’s important for leaders to step back, look at the reality of the situation and make a wise choice based on what’s best for the company.
Deciding what was best for the firm is exactly what Waugh and the new leadership team did. Armed with a new leadership and new slogan, The Rainmaker Companies is ready to “Raise the B.A.R.” They are already looking at new ways to help clients change and improve their behaviors and results.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting time for everyone and I think we’ll see them really grow the business in the next five years,” said Waugh.