Transitioning Leadership with Intention
Early in his professional management journey, Tony realized the importance of hiring and training great leaders to build the next generation of the business. One of those leaders was Matt Hoying.
Matt Hoying joined Choice One in 2004 and quickly saw the benefits of a business powered by professional management. He appreciated how Tony and his fellow leaders were developing their people and transparently running the business with purpose. He knew he wanted to be part of the business beyond engineering work.
A few years later, Matt approached Tony with the idea of starting a second Choice One location in Loveland, Ohio. He saw an opportunity to expand beyond the company’s Sidney, Ohio roots, and was eager to use that experience for his personal and professional development. Tony also saw an opportunity: to train the next generation of Choice One leadership and create an exit plan for his retirement.
“Empowering Matt to build a second location for Choice One was a real-time, small-scale experiment in seeing how he could run the business,” said Tony. “I saw his ability to think about the big vision for the company and what client relationships could and should be, and we started building toward a future where Matt was Choice One’s president.”
Matt and Tony mapped out the transition using a 10-year period for Matt to thoroughly train on principles of professional management and to gradually take on Tony’s responsibilities. Over time, though, they realized 10 years was longer than they (and the company) needed. Matt became president of Choice One in September 2016 – about five years earlier than originally planned.
In addition to the transition of daily tasks and strategic roles with Matt, Tony worked closely with his Aileron advisors on his own emotional transition. Like many entrepreneurs and business owners, his role at Choice One was tightly interwoven with his identity as a person and leader. Who could he be if not president at Choice One? How did he want to intentionally use newfound free time? How could he support Matt while also creating and maintaining boundaries? Exploring these questions helped Tony articulate a vision for his next chapter and ease into the transition.