The economy is always changing, your customer base is growing and changing, and buying habits change. Your world is always changing, yet in many ways it remains the same, as business is still business. The reality is a combination, with the fundamentals of business mostly unchanged, yet the business environment completely different than ever before – not better or worse, just different. So how do you navigate your business and your team through the uncharted waters? It’s simple really…you must be the leader that your team and business needs and lead them through it. The first reaction I often get to that last statement is “but I’m not a great leader” or “leadership doesn’t come naturally to me”.
One of the biggest fallacies in the business world related to coaching is that coaching is for struggling businesses and business owners. The reality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth! Coaching works best for businesses and owners that have already reached a level of success, and are ready for the next level, which gets harder and harder as you grow. Best Selling author and business thought leader Marshall Goldsmith’s book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is all about the challenges of moving up to new levels, and what you need to leave behind, to let go of, in order to take on the new challenges. Let’s take a look at 3 of the most common growth challenges you might be experiencing despite your success.
Many business owners find themselves in the trap of trying to do too much and not allowing their employees (team) to help them. This is probably the single biggest inhibitor to growth that I have witnessed over the last eight years of coaching businesses – the failure of the owner to get out of the way, and to empower their team. Too many owners feel that it is their responsibility to personally take care of everything, because “I can do it better” than anyone else. All that this approach provides is the guarantee that you will be the busiest and least paid (on a per-hour basis) employee in your business, the only one who comes in early and stays late. If you enjoy being a slave to your business and your customers, stop here. If you need to get past that, read on.
Leading and managing - I often see and hear business owners and their staffs use these two words interchangeably, yet they are very different in extremely important ways. While being a “manager” is quite often a formal job title with specific responsibilities and accountability, being a “leader” is not. Here are some of the key differences between Leading and Managing.
As we grow our businesses, we need to grow our teams, and with that growth comes both excitement and fear. One of the most common growth challenges I hear about is that owners/leaders struggle with delegation, and if they can’t get their team to do what they ask, they might as well do it themselves, right? Wrong!
Delegation is just one more skill to learn, and it really isn’t all that complicated to learn…
Many business owners get to the point in their business and their life where things just stop improving. They reach a comfortable level that many call a plateau, where things are good but not great, and the majority of their previous level of dissatisfaction is now eliminated. While this may sound like a nice place to be, it is also a dangerous place to be. Staying at this plateau can led to complacency, and when you least expect it, it slowly takes you right back where you were without you ever realizing it.
Every single day, multiple times a day, we are faced with a decision to make. The decisions which need to be made come in different colors, shapes and sizes, yet many of them all have a common foundation to them. Despite the fact that many decisions seem dissimilar, in reality there is a fundamental underlying decision that goes along with the more obvious surface level decision. I call this fundamental Decision the Point of Power, and it is truly liberating when you understand how to wield it.
Many of us started businesses that required us to do the work that generated the bulk of the revenues of our companies. At some point, we then became the bottleneck in our businesses, as we only had so much capacity. At this point we added team, and often we began working longer hours, because we could still “do it better” than the team we hired. So they went home at 4:30, while we worked until whenever the work was done. Sound familiar? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way, and there are some simple steps to going from “Lead Doer” to “Leader of Doers”.
Teaching people how to be accountable will take some time, but it is always worth it because they will improve for you on a steady basis long before they get to owning their accountability. The steps are fairly simple and straight-forward, just like most fundamentals of business. The key is to decide whether you want to be a great task master or a great leader.