Number 1 in a Series of 4
I was sitting in the room with my newest client, seven tough, fun-loving leaders of a very successful construction company. They had just finished their best year ever, crushing previous revenue and profit records, and had engaged me to help them get to the proverbial “next level”. You can imagine my surprise, when the room fell silent and three of them began to quietly sob. As it turns out I shouldn’t have been surprised, this scene would repeat itself many times with many clients, I was just too new in my coaching career to realize how ordinary it is.
So, what gives? Best year ever, making lots of money, good reputation in the market, happy employees. What’s there to cry about? The answer: fear. In this specific case, it was the fear of not being able to repeat last year’s huge success, but there’s also the fear of not being able to continue an exhausting pace, the fear of not being able to keep all the balls in the air (if you don’t know what I mean by that, save 15 minutes of your life and skip the rest of this article) and the big one: fear of having to choose between success at work and success at home. Business, whether you run a department, a small family operation, or a Fortune 500 company is tough, and it gets scary when you feel like you’re barely hanging on.
When I talk about fear, there’s no judgement in my words. I happen to be the king of fear. I come from a long line of worriers (we like to tell people we’re “highly responsible”) and spent most of my career worried about what might go wrong, instead of working to make things go right. I remember going on vacation in the late 90’s, before people had cell phones, and being terrified to call into my voice mail for fear of what went wrong in my absence. Times have changed, we all have devices that feed us information constantly, which only means our “vacations” are filled with a steady stream of shock treatments guaranteed to keep us from relaxing. It’s no way to run our businesses or lead our lives. But don’t lose hope – I have good news that might just lead you to the life you want and the success you desire.
The good news is about 5 years ago I found a way to lead my organizations in a smooth, predictable, systematic way that virtually eliminated the fear I once faced, and I’m about to share that “way” with you. Are you ready? Prepare to think, because it’s complicated: To get everything you want from your business, without stress and anxiety, cast a clear vision and get your people and systems aligned around that vision. Is that all there is? Well, kind of. It really is simple in concept, but the devil’s in the details. It takes hard work to create and communicate a clear vision and get your people and systems aligned around that vision. I obviously can’t coach you in an article on all the details necessary to get your business running exactly the way you want. But what I can do is give you a quick-start on how to fix the people part of the equation, because that’s the part that nearly every business leader struggles with. We’ll touch on the systems, but a thorough discussion of that piece is another topic for another day.
With the goal of getting your people aligned around your vision in mind, I’m going to show you three simple disciplines that will allow you to start leading your organization and trusting your people to take care of the day-to-day of your operation. In the process you will take control of your schedule and become confident you are doing the right things to move your organization forward, and the fear and anxiety will slowly melt away. If you’re not in a leadership position, don’t tune me out. You might want to be a leader one day, and you can drive these same disciplines from wherever you sit now to pave your path to the top.
What are the three disciplines?
1. Structure your organization: Get clear on the functions that must be performed to reach your goals and the accountabilities of the people that perform those functions.
2. Clarify your core values: Define the behaviors of the people you want to surround yourself with.
3. Assess your people: Evaluate your team members as to how well they fit your values and perform their job function.
In the next 3 installments, we will address each of these disciplines in greater detail. At tracFirst, we implement a system to address these three core disciplines and help business leaders regain control of the chaos. We welcome an opportunity for a brief conversation to see if you are in a position to take this critical step for your business. Contact us today.