One of our good friends has a 2 ½ year old daughter. She, like most other 2 year olds, can be a bit of a pill at times. That’s a polite way of saying, “She’s can be a pain in the butt.”
She will go on and on about something, kicking and screaming over the most seemingly insignificant things. At least to us. Her parents would jokingly declare, “The struggle is real.”
We laugh about it. It’s funny when we put it in perspective.
When it comes to business, the struggle is real too. But it’s no laughing matter.
Owning a business is tough. It’s hard. It can be a massive pill (see reference above).
And because it is tough I am going to say something I have never openly said before.
Business ownership and entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Not everyone should be a business owner. Many people need to give up their fantasy with the idea of entrepreneurship. Keep your dreams to yourself. Just dream.
There, I said it.
I suspect this statement won’t be popular.
Well, I’m not trying to win a popularity contest folks. I’m not going to be politically correct. Maybe I’m having a Donald Trump moment. I am going to just tell the truth. (I think people in our country are starving for truth and transparency).
Yes. The struggle is real. And you know it if you’ve been in business for more than 10 minutes. I’ve experienced it and I suspect you have too.
Nope there is no easy button.
Yes, the struggle is real. But that’s what makes it great.
Being an entrepreneur or business owner that builds a business that stands out and is truly great is one of life’s greatest challenges. It’s the challenge; the struggle that makes it good.
You see, every day we have the opportunity to overcome. We have the opportunity to be challenged. We have the opportunity to learn and grow. In fact it’s required. Because if we don’t we will die or get killed.
There is a line in the movie League of Their Own. Tom Hanks, referring to baseball, said, “It’s the hard that makes it good.”
In business, it’s the hard that makes it good. We have the opportunity to discover WHO we really are. We have to opportunity to see what we are really made of. And, if we respond to the challenge and fight, we get to see WHO we will ultimately become.
And who you will become is a better, stronger, more determined, courageous, disciplined and wiser person who can overcome and survive anything life throws at you.
The struggle is real. Embrace it.
I’ve got your back.
I was right in the middle of writing a piece on why you SHOULDN’T work on your business. Michael Gerber, author of the E Myth Revisited, popularized the term,work on it, not in it in his book. Despite the fact that business people have generally adopted the notion or idea as sound, there are circumstances and situations when a person sound NOT work on their business.
In fact, more people have failed in an attempt to adopt the philosophy then I have seen succeed. It’s because Gerber neglected to share some important realities that could have saved some businesses a lot of time and energy.
In the piece I was preparing, I had also planned to give you an opportunity to set up a 30 minute strategy call to discuss whether or not you ought to be WORKING ON YOUR BUSINESS or if you could be wasting your time and energy doing so.
But that piece got high-jacked after I met with a couple clients who are doing things so seemingly impractical and yet powerfully effective in their business, I couldn’t help but want to share it with you right away.
You can still set up a time to talk. No strings or obligations. No sales pitches. I just want to help people get and stay on the right track when it comes to growing highly effectively, profitable and rewarding businesses that will serves their lives.
Here’s the link in case you want to find out if YOU should be working on your business or if you are wasting your time. https://calendly.com/edensunshine
Okay. So what was so important that I had to shift gears.
Well, as you know, we talk a lot about systems around here. Systems this and systems that. I have even openly said that I am not a fan of systems. Surprised? Developing a systems driven business is tough. It’s hard work. But having a systems driven business does produce extraordinary results. I’ll take that fact to my grave.
Though I am not a fan of the process of developing systems, I am a fan of great results. So are most business owners.
Systems are simply the tool that facilitates optimal results.
Systems are like the brains of the business.
But a well rounded, productive, inspiring, passionate and motivating business must have heart too.
In other words, you need a well defined, intentionally and purposefully developed culture.
Culture and systems compliment each other. Having both, developed well, is the stuff great businesses are made of.
A lot of businesses seem to think that if they post a set of values on the wall that will suffice in fulfilling the “we have established a culture in our business ” checkbox. Wrong! Oh so very wrong.
Cultures are alive. They are carried and lived by the people in an organization. That’s what makes a culture sustainable. That’s what makes the culture become legacy; it’s own personality.
So when Pat Garritty of Trilliant Real Estate Group empowered a couple of his employees to adopt a new employee in their firm and become his Culture Mentor, I stopped to take notice.
Pat knows that he, and he alone, cannot be the bearer to the culture standard or banner. He knows that his people have to own and live it too. His people need to become a viable and productive voice for the culture so when he is not there, either temporarily or permanently, the voice will continue to echo through the halls of his business.
Deb Herring of ZLUX is setting the stage for her people to own the business culture too.
Although in the early stages of developing her culture, she has been relentless in her communication with her entire company. Signage is throughout her offices and plant. She sends regular communication, in the form of a company newsletter, talking specifically about the company values. She is conducting team building and training exercises to support and communicate the culture as well. I was just onsite at her business last week to facilitate such a session.
Both Deb and Pat meet with their people one on one weekly and include conversations about how the employee is living the culture and areas they can improve.
They mentor the people so, at some point, they can mentor others. Pat is now empowering his people to take on mentoring roles.
Impractical? Seemingly. Especially if you don’t understand the value and impact that a strong culture will have on your people and your customers. Great businesses have great cultures. End of story.
There are a lot of businesses that have good systems and can produce a quality product or service.
Very few do that and have a heart too. It’s the ones that have a heart that you will remember. It’s the ones that have intentionally empowered every employee in the business to be a voice and torch bearer of the company that will stand out among the crowd.
How are you intentionally building your culture and empowering your people to do the same?
I work with a company in India who does some of the programming for our online systems development and management program called YODA. Many of you are familiar with it. Bragging for a moment, it’s actually pretty good with rave reviews from those who are actively using it. It saves massive amounts of time when it comes to documenting and managing your company systems, operation manuals and day to day employee tasks. Let me know if you’d like to know more about it. Okay…commercial over.
So last night I am on a call with the developers via Skype and I started to get a little frustrated. Although they speak English pretty well, they still have some rather thick accents. That coupled with a poor connection and delays in the signal back and forth, it was hard to communicate and share some of the improvements I would like to make to the program.
I believe they felt the same way because we had to strategize a different approach for me to get the information to them that they needed for the project.
Themes run rampant in my life it seems because yesterday morning, in a conversation with one of my Certified Level 7 Systems Coordinators, we had a conversation about effective communication.
Unless you live in a bubble, a hermit, if you will, you will be communicating with people. Communication is an art and a science. Few people consider the impact that poor communication has when it comes to producing results. Effective communication can make all the difference in ensuring that people have a thorough understanding of our perspective and expectations.
In business particularly, if we aren’t communicating well, there is a strong likelihood that people will not be operating effectively and efficiently. We simply won’t get the best possible results.
I find it funny how people take the skills of communicating for granted. In fact, few people even think of communication with intention. They just go on and on and on and never consider if people are even receiving and understanding their message.
Some people don’t listen with intention so they can fully understand.
They expect people to read their minds and then get upset when others don’t meet their expectation.
When it comes to communication, we all have responsibilities associated with it.
Yes, you have a responsibility when it comes to communication if you want to do it well.
It really comes down to 2 things.
1- Communicate well so others fully understand you.
2- Listen well so we fully understand others.
Communicating well requires that we understand and accept the reality that not everyone speaks your language. I am not talking literally, although that could be the case if you are talking to developers in India. People process and receive information differently. They have different perspectives. They see and hear things through different lenses.
You know what I mean. You’ve probably had a conversation with someone that you immediately clicked. Like you just got each other. Related. Understood.
And I’m sure you’ve spoke with others and it felt tortuous to engage in a conversation with them.
The problem is not you. AND the problem is not them. It’s just differences.
If you wish to communicate well, seek to bridge the gap, understand differences and discover ways to adapt and adjust. Once you’ve communicated, confirm your message has been received and understood.
The same is true with listening. I know I need to continually focus on listening with the intention of understanding. I ask questions. Seek clarity. Repeat what I’ve heard so I am sure I heard and understand.
Here’s my challenge for you. Ask yourself theses question as you engage others in all forms of communication with others:
“Am I doing a good job of conveying information?”
“Is the message being received?”
“Do I understand what others are saying to me?”
You might find it takes a little more work but the results that stem from building quality connections and clarity with others will be well worth the time and focus.
The older I get, the more I am coming to recognize, and perhaps accept the idea, that I simply don’t or won’t fully understand everything that happens in life.
It used to give me comfort, perhaps some solace, in being able to interpret or explain why we encounter difficult or challenging situations.
I am an encourager. I strive to be a person who is brings hope to people who are experiencing challenging or painful situations.
Recently, I have come to a personal conclusion, that I simply can’t explain why we sometimes get beat up by life.
Case in point. I had a conversation with a client yesterday. I won’t mention any names, but over the last several months, she has been pummeled by some of the weirdest, trying and difficult circumstance related to a business – all at once.
Many people might have to deal with one or two of these challenges at once, but she is dealing with 5 or 6 issues that are literally consuming most, if not all, of her time.
Even in the midst of that I haven’t ever heard her say, “Why me?” She has just kept plugging along.
In my hope to provide some encouragement to the situation, I offered a different perspective. My perspective comes from a lifetime of observation and over 20 years of coaching, mentoring, supporting and challenging business owners, leaders and people to become better at what they do.
I have witnessed this phenomenon working with business owners, employees and managers as they work to become better people and more effective in their roles.
In a situation where a person is growing, improving, building, changing, moving towards a goal, vision or desired action – when they’ve committed to something – they will encounter obstacles, challenges, opposition and resistance.
We simply don’t experience resistance standing still. Unless it’s gravity.
I’ve seen and experienced it myself over and over and over again. I can’t explain why this phenomenon exists.
Why can’t it just be smooth sailing? Why must we be punished for doing something good, for improving, I often ask?
Let me save you some time. Asking those questions will lead to a dead end. Stop worrying about why.
Rather, consider the resistance and challenges you are encountering as a sign.
YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK.
The more resistance we experience often suggests the bigger and better the goal or direction you are pursuing.
What it really comes down to is whether or not we have to guts, determination and will to persevere through until we see a breakthrough.
Feeling like things are tough. GOOD!!!!! You are in the right place. Don’t you dare quit! Don’t even think about it.
I am sometimes accused of using too many cliques. Oh well. Here is one that I think appropriately applies.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Here are a couple strategies that I use when I am feeling challenged. Perhaps you can apply some yourself.
1- Review my vision. I get refocused on the reason WHY I am doing what I am doing. My work and effort is honorable and is improving the lives of 100’s perhaps 1000’s of lives every year. My vision is important and worth the fight. (I’m fight for and with my clients)
2- Consider the worst case scenarios and ask myself this question – “can I live with the outcome.” Here is another clique. “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.”
3- Get support. I turn to mentors, coaches (yes, I have a coach) and experts to help me navigate through situations.
4- Get into a community of people who are likeminded and challenging themselves too. This is one of the many reasons I’ve formed the Level 7 Community and I conduct the Level 7 Roundtable Events. I am amazing when my business clients gather and begin to see how their peers experience the same challenges and issues in their lives and businesses as they pursue their vision. It makes them feel like they are not alone.
5- Keep moving. Take some action. Don’t get paralyzed. And don’t retreat. Don’t you dare!
6- Embrace the adventure and the challenge. Life is about ups and downs. The downs are good too. Yes, it pains me to say that. It is way easier said than lived. But it is a healthy perspective. Some of my most difficult challenges in life taught me massive lessons and, more importantly, made me a better person.
7- A good friend of mine, Bryan Hurd at www.bhurdinutah.com reminded me the other day that a motivated, focused and committed team will always accomplish more than one person possible can. Engage your team. Show them the vision. Ask them to join you and fight for the vision and dream too.
How do you cope? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
There are good things, greatness within you. If you are battling – then good. Battle on. I am right there with you.
Years ago my dad was into horseracing. He loved to go to the track and bet on the ponies. He never spent too much. It was more about entertainment than making money. Although I think he made a few bucks most of the time. He had a system.
He was especially good at reading the racing forms. He was able to uncover the often overlooked details that revealed information about a horse that might suggest it was underrated.
I suppose it’s easy to pick a favorite. He especially loved to identify a horse that had strong potential to win a race that most others would underestimate. Nothing like picking a 5-1 or 7-1 and watch it blow by the favorites in the stretch.
One day my dad and I were discussing his horse selection strategies and he revealed a little secret to me.
He explained that horses have classes. Not like school…but more like social classes. He further explained that all things being equal, if two horses were racing and one came from better stock, the lesser horse wouldn’t or couldn’t beat the higher class.
I think it’s like the alpha dog or pack leader thing. I’m not sure that is an entirely accurate metaphor, but I believe it illustrates the point.
In only very rare instances would a lesser horse win given equal circumstances. If a lesser horse was significantly faster or more suited for a specific race it would usually win. But it was rare.
Personally, I found this an interesting phenomenon. In many ways, I have found this to be true about people. Especially about business leaders and the way they work.
People will only operate at a level they feel they are comfortable or capable of performing at. Despite providing them all the tools necessary to be effective business owners, leaders or entrepreneurs, they will still do the work they BELIEVE they are capable of doing.
- The construction company owner sees himself as a construction guy – not a leader – so he gravitates towards doing the tactical work in a construction business.
- The realtor sees herself as an agent – not an entrepreneur – so she goes out and sells homes, rather than building a real estate business.
- The accountant, doctor, lawyer, appraiser, chef, beautician all see themselves in those roles – not the role of an business leader – and so they engage in their craft and neglect running the race at a higher level.
Here is the most interesting point. They don’t even see it. They call themselves the business owner, entrepreneur, leader, but they don’t work at that level.
The race horse doesn’t consciously think – “Oh, wow…here comes Secretariat. His momma and dadda were a lot better than mine, I better slow down.”
Humans, until they become conscious of this phenomenon, will sabotage their own progress until they change one thing.
The Way You Think About Yourself.
We must reprogram our thoughts and beliefs and KNOW that we are effective, capable, deserving and successful business people.
Who you believe you are will massively influence your performance.
One of the first signs that you have belief issues – you will continue to avoid doing the work and activities of a leader.
Despite having all the tools. You won’t work on your vision. You won’t set concrete goals. You won’t focus on the future of the business. You won’t define and cast vision and values. You won’t take the time to listen to and engage your people.
As a result, your business simply will not advance. How can it without leadership?
By the way, the same is true about effective management. Whether it’s you or someone else in your business managing. If you don’t see yourself effectively doing it; it won’t happen.
How do you fix it?
It’s a steady and arduous process of mental management. The most effective and simplest approach it writing a reminder down.
Perhaps something like – I am a highly effective business leader that is crystal clear on the direction and values for my organization and inspires and engages participants to support in achieving that vision.
Commit to reading and focusing on this statement for 40 days. Nothing magical about that number. It just represents a time frame that requires some discipline, focus and consistency.
Watch what happens, you won’t even realize it but soon you will be passing up the competition and running at a whole new level in your business.
You will be the fastest odds on favorite to win the race.
Effective leaders do the right type of work and come in all shapes and sizes of personality. Some drive results, some collaborate. Some are extroverts and some are introverts. Regardless, leaders engage in a certain type of work and perform specific activities, not unlike any other role or position in an organization.
So let’s make something very, very clear – leadership is NOT about personality. Having worked one on one with 1000’s of leaders in dozens of different type of businesses and scenarios, I have seen wide varieties of personalities that are very effective in their leadership responsibilities.
I have also worked with many people in leadership roles that, based on their personalities, people might assume they would be effective leaders but they were not. In fact, they were terrible. They simply didn’t engage in the right type of work and do it well.
Effective leaders all have one thing in common…
They have enlisted and built a group of enthusiastic and focused followers.
Thanks for listening and thanks for leading.
I’ve contended over the years that many people feel like a hamster on a wheel as it relates to their lives. Every day we are mindlessly running – living the same routine – perhaps even unaware that our lives are that way. I admit. I feel that way sometimes.
At a Strategic Planning Session I facilitated last weekend, one of the participants, who arrived early, and I got to catch up on our lives over the last year. I hadn’t seen him since the previous year when I facilitated the event for their company.
I asked how he was doing. He said, “I’m like a hamster in a habitat.”
“Hamster in a habit?” I questioned. “Not a wheel.”
“Nah.” He replied. “My life is more like a hamster in a habitat. I’ve got my places to roam around. I am familiar. I am comfortable. Nothing really new and exciting.”
“Hum…maybe you need to add some new sections to the habitat?” I challenged.
It got us both thinking.
The theme of this conversation; being open and intentional, expanding our view of the world, adding new experiences and being open to the unknown, seemed to permeated the next 2 days as we gathered as a group.
Something subtle, yet powerful, happened on day 2 and I believe we all learned a lesson.
Just a bit of background. This was my third year working with this group. Same venue. Same people. The room we were in was rather small with a large conference table. Intimate. Comfortable. Nobody seemed to mind the space other than the fact that in the morning the room was a little cool and in the afternoons it got a little warm. We often wrestled with the thermostat but overall the room worked for us.
Well, for some reason, the country club decided to move us into another room. It was much larger and the tables were set up in a horseshoe configuration.
Interestingly, virtually everyone who entered the room the second day commented that the room was too big and questioned if it were going to work for them.
We settled in and went back to work. Within an hour, everyone commented that the new space was actually nicer than the cramped quarters we were in the previous day.
The lessons I suspect are fairly obvious to you by now. Let me bullet point my insights.
1- We often get comfortable with our surroundings. This could be the work we do, our routines, our space. Perhaps we are all in some way shape or form like a hamster in a habitat.
2- When we do encounter new things that are unfamiliar we might be quick to judge them. We might even react harshly. But just like a child who claims they hate green beans even though they have never tasted them, we might actually like the ‘new thing’ if we are open to it.
3- Why not embrace the unknown as an exciting new adventure. We seek comfort in our lives. I told my wife the other day that skydiving is supposed to be scary. (I’ve done it twice). I told her that the experience is all about accepting and embracing all the fear and emotions that come the moment just before you jump out of the plane. Don’t run from it. Experience it.
4- Shouldn’t life be just as much about creating certainty and predictability as it should be about exploring and experiencing new adventures? Again, embrace the fear.
As you intentionally venture out into the realm of new experiences, whether it be taking on the implementation of the Level 7 Systems and having to change the way you think about work and what you do, to testing a new form or method of communication with a team member, to learning a new technology, to dedicating time (that none of us seem to have) to a new task, to making an investment in yourself or your business without knowing full well the outcome.
Regardless, embrace the feelings and fears that come with entering a new section of your habitat. You might just like it after all.
To my fellow hamsters…
Evaluating employee performance is often very subjective in business.
If you’ve ever said, “I think [fill in employee name] is doing a good job but I am not so sure about [fill in another employee name]”, you are largely guilty of subjectively evaluating employee performance.
Stop it. It’s not good for you or for your employees. If your business relies on subjectivity to measure performance, than you can guarantee you will have employees who think they are doing a good job and aren’t. You will also have good performing employees who are not sure you are happy with their performance. Not good in either sense.
Getting employees on the same page as you or management requires clear and quality communication of expectations and performance.
I was meeting with Jenny and Odeen Domingo, owners of co+hoots and eeko studio the other day.
I wrote on the whiteboard in their office these words:
How to Get Fired from [fill in your company name]
They were amused. They both chuckled. Jenny busted out her laptop and feverishly began taking notes.
I wrote down four additional points and explained that any employee who is not meeting these expectations could and perhaps should be fired.
#1- They aren’t coachable and willing to learn and grow.
In a business that is hoping to grow and improve, so must it’s people.
#2- An Individual doesn’t fit the company culture.
This assumes you have a desired and written set of values that describe the company culture. If an employee doesn’t fit and isn’t willing to try to fit your culture, based on your mentoring and development (see point #1), then they ought to go.
#3- The employee doesn’t produce results.
Every position exists for a reason, a purpose and to achieve a goal. Not just do tasks. Doing tasks produce results. A sales rep makes outbound calls to produce sales. A bookkeeper enter accounts receivables in hopes to maximize collections. A manager works on systems in hope so to ensure that employees are producing their results. All employees produce results. The question is whether the results are what you want. The first step in the process is to define the specific results. Then measure them. The report them to your people. BAM. Everyone on the same page.
If an employee is not achieving their goals, despite your systems and training, they might need to go.
#4- They don’t follow-through with commitments, accountability.
In a systems driven business powered by the Level 7 System, we need to trust two things: Our systems produce the results we desire and our people follow the systems. It also means we trust our people to keep their promises. If you have people who don’t follow-through, once you’ve established this as a standard and expectation, they must go.
If you want to focus on a more positive approach to employee development and performance, rather than focusing on reasons to fire them, then consider the four points above and emphasize with people that extraordinary performance is measured by the same criteria. Specifically:
- Top Performing Employees are role models for our company culture. It’s measured through peer to peer, self and management assessments.
- Top Performing Employees always achieve the results specified for their position.
- Top Performing Employees always follow-through with their agreements and commitments.
By getting clear on these performance expectations and then communicating them objectively, you are setting the stage for your employees to be on the same page. They will know they are performing well or not and so will you.
Effective leadership is not about personality. Granted certain personalities enable leaders to be more natural at certain skills.
- Those with more outgoing, task driven personalities, tend to drive change and innovation more comfortably.
- Those with influencer type personalities tend to draw people in and communicate with greater enthusiasm and create buy in.
- People that are more analytical tend to be more systematic and detailed when it comes to strategy development.
- And those that are more stable and consistent tend to build a more relational environment.
But effective leadership is not about personality. And it’s definitely not about title.
It’s about the work the leader does. Effective leaders do the right work, the right way.
Effective leadership requires having an effective system.
The Three Key Leadership Systems
1- The system for understanding opportunities, market potential and people.
Intuitive leaders have an innate sense of trends and understanding product development, market needs, opportunities and people.
Walt Disney, despite naysayers, somehow knew people would drive to the orange groves of Anaheim, California and pay $1.00 to go to an amusement park. We now have Disneyland. Thanks Walt!
Steve Jobs was absolutely convinced that a market of computer enthusiasts would appreciate beautiful fonts and artistry when it came to computer design. He was right.
By the way, when I talk about markets, that also includes followers. In business, that’s employees. Great leaders understand employees and people. They understand what matters to them and will inspire and engage them.
Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos Shoes, seems to have an uncanny sense of how to inspire and keep employees. In comparison, a typical call center environment has roughly 150% annual employee turnover. Zappos experiences less than 39% which included turnover resulting from promotions. He determined that people want to be happy at work and created an environment that really supports that.
For some business owners they are very effective at understanding market opportunties, potential and followers. Some people THINK they are but really miss the boat.
In order to lead effectively, leaders – business owners – must be honest with themselves and consider how effective they are at really understanding markets and people.
Regardless, there is a system for this and it really comes down to knowing the truth. The Level 7 Principle of Knowing What’s True suggests we get objective information about our theories. So if you think the market might be interested in a product or service, do a little testing or investigating first. Do some research. Gather some data.
Over the last year or so I’ve been exploring the idea of launching a new, very laser focused implementation service centered on helping companies get systemized. It’s all about systems documentation and the systems development cycle. The idea of developing a systems driven business has become more mainstream and easy to understand.
I recently launched a 6 week training and implementation program specifically focused on walking businesses through the specifics of that process. It was very cool seeing the number of people who jumped on the opportunity to get involved in the process.
If you want information on the next launch, click this link to get on the early notification list.
2- System for establishing goals, vision and direction.
Most business owners I meet have a pretty good idea of the direction they want to take their businesses. It’s sort of floating around in the atmosphere and they pull nuggets of their vision out from time to time as needed. But often it’s not written down and laser focused. This lack of focus and direction hurts a business more than most people know or care to admit.
Great leaders are very clear and definitive about the vision, goals, culture, standards and objectives of their business.
There is a system for developing these as well. In virtually every case, when I support a business owner in the process, I have found that walking them through our system for defining and getting these elements in writing elevates their confidence and ability to lead their organization dramatically.
This process must following the steps behind understanding markets and potential however. It doesn’t make sense to create a vision based on a situation where there is no or limited market potential.
In our Level 7 Full Access or i2 Program, we have a whole series of systems that are designed to help business owners identify and clearly articulate their company goals and objectives.
3- System for Creating an Enthusiastic Collective Focus. (A clever way of saying – effective communication)
Good leaders figure out a way to effectively get their message – their vision – across to others. Some leaders are natural communicators. People literally hold onto their every word. In some cases people might have some challenges or hang ups communicating goals and objectives. To those types I say, your people are not mind readers. Figure out a way to get your message out in a way that will inspire and engage them.
Good leaders develop effective and consistent systems and forums for communication. The hold meetings. They send memos. They do a video. They enlist others to tell the story. But they get their message out until people get it and OWN it.
How will you know if you are leading well?
Very simply. You have followers. Not employees who are engaged cause they are being paid. It’s more than that. You have people that are engaged, enthusiastic, committed and understand where the business or organization is going. They want the result like you do.
If you don’t see evidence of that in your business, go to work evaluating and developing your leadership systems.
- Understanding Markets and People
- Defining Vision and Goals
- Proper and Effective Communication
I have another confession. Last week I shared my experience dealing with tension and resistance.
This week I confess that I got caught up in the shiny objectives. You know…some idea caught your attention and before you know it you went down a rabbit trail that wasted your time and energy.
Entrepreneur are especially susceptible to this kind of behavior. We are problem solvers. It’s our nature. We are masters at identifying something that’s not working and then we find a solution. We love new ideas, tools, methods, technology and gadgets.
We are unique in this sense. Special. In my opinion, it’s one of the reasons I think business owners are so valuable to our economy and society.
We fix and get stuff done! Yeah! Give me a B – B. Give me a U – U. Okay you get the point.
However, this wonderful gift and talent can be a curse. Some of us get bored too. We need a new adventure.
I experienced this syndrome firsthand this week. I got caught up in a shiny object. I spent enough time going down a rabbit hole that afterward I felt dirty and needed a bath. No it wasn’t anything weird or disgusting.
I just realized that I had gotten off course from my primary mission and goal long enough that I felt guilty and frustrated. Like I just had wasted a whole bunch of time. My wife says, “Nobody got time for that.”
So I felt guilty like I feel after eating that extra piece of pie or cake. (mmm…did I just say pie?)
Here are the lessons I learned from last week.
#1 – Stay focused on my goals. I have found that if I review them daily – even for a minute or two – it helps me stay focused on what matters most. It helps, by the way, to have written goals and perhaps a vision that really matters to you.
#2 – Be disciplined when it comes to engaging in innovation. Let’s face it…that’s what we do when we are chasing the shiny object…we are innovating or looking for a better way of doing things. Innovation is critical. We just need to do it in the right time and right way.
#3 – Give myself permission to chase a shiny object from time to time. I had suggested to a client to spend a couple hours on Fridays to have fun learning new things without any expectation to do anything with it. Just feed the entrepreneurial animal in you.
#4 – Get a hobby. I have one by the way…I just wasn’t engaged in it last week. Business owners are notorious for getting bored and getting off track from their goals. I will tell you that my most successful clients stay focused on their primary businesses.
Okay…so I’ve made my confession. What about you? Have you found yourself chasing a shiny object from time to time? What do you do to stay focused?