Think for a moment about whether you are:
Steering the ship or charting the course?
Managing or leading?
Pursuing results or developing processes?
Caught up in activities and "busyness" or focusing on accomplishments and productivity?
Working in the business or working on the business?
Effective leaders focus on the latter half of those questions, not the former. Not surprising, but my experiences with clients and serving on various boards for more than 30 years have indicated a direct correlation between the leadership effectiveness of owners and executives and long-term, sustained success. Leaders who focus on the following are often the most successful:
- Defining a vision and sticking with it.
- Planning and preparing around the vision.
- Building and retaining the right team to execute strategies.
- Making decisions solely in support of the organization.
Why do business owners and executives spend more time managing than leading? My clients tell me the following:
- I don't need to—life is good.
- I don't know where to start or how to do it.
- I don't have time—there's too much other work.
- I don't have the right people to execute my plan, even if I had one.
- I don't have any support mechanisms or accountability.
If all this sounds familiar to you, here are a few thoughts to consider:
- The marketplace changes daily. You may be okay today, but how about in 10 or 20 years?
- If you're unsure of what to do, get active. Read, spend time with industry groups, solicit advice from key employees, involve your board of directors or advisors, etc.
- You do have the time—your employees should be executing your strategy. Employees provide manpower and you provide mind power.
- Build the right team—it is your job. Take a blank piece of paper, determine an optimal org chart, and then go fill it with current employees or new ones.
- Need help? Put a board of advisors together. You could include your accountant, attorney, and any other person you feel has something to bring to the table.
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