Businesses don’t fail because of a bad product or unqualified staff. They fail because of leadership.
On the positive side, you can take leadership of your leadership and choose to make it the defining element in your business growth. To make leadership spur your business success, you need to be able to scale your leadership. The following steps will help you get started with scalable leadership.
1. Create local order
Business is changing fast and continuously – with such speed and up to the point that it has become chaotic. As a growth business leader, you face new challenges and opportunities every day. You need to collect and analyze huge amounts of information in a very limited time to make new decisions.
No matter how useful it may be, information can be a time consuming trap, keeping you from doing other critical things. You need to create local order to the chaos. You can do this by establishing a simple set of assumptions about the business critical issues, such as what is your customer need.
For me, the local order consists of:
- Clear vision
- Strategy transformed into simple actions
- Description of our customer segments
- List of the things we need to develop next in our product
- List of the things my staff needs next, ranging from new chairs to better defined company values
2. Enjoy being led
Leadership is not something you do to your subordinates. Leadership is something that everyone in your organization does together, whether you want it or not.
Scaling your leadership requires hiring people “smarter than you” and giving them freedom to collaborate and find the right solutions.
This does not make leadership easier for you as the nominated leader, on the contrary. When things get screwed up, you are still responsible. If shared leadership fails, you have failed.
Your task is to create and communicate clear vision, set of practical values and personal goals relevant to the big picture for each staff member. Consider crowdsourcing as an option to involve your staff early.
3. Unbore the boring
Finding the people and showing them the directions is not enough. You also need to give them tools to make things click. This calls for efficient processes. For example, you need to have an established way of communicating that allows everyone to participate.
Many top performers perceive processes boring. They did not come to your company to fill in endless lines of CRM system or to spend their time in six-hour long internal meetings. On the other hand, many leaders just love processes at least secretly. They are an easy way to spend your time and feel organized.
The more freedom your staff gets, the more important it is to design processes. But you must unbore the boring, design the processes that support the work and are accepted by everyone.
4. Break your bubble
The local order helps you and your staff to perform in the chaotic world, but remember that the local order is not the whole truth. It is just a simplification of the real world allowing your organization make good enough decisions fast.
You must continuously revise the set of assumptions the local order is based on. The situation might have changed or the assumptions were wrong in the first place. The local order shouldn't become a bubble that traps you inside. You need to break the bubble and create a new local order when necessary.
Breaking the bubble is much easier if you have described the local order in written and simple form. Just a fuzzy pattern in people's heads, varying from person to person, will not help you tell if it's outdated and how it should be changed.
Doesn't sound easy? Well, no, and luckily, it's not. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Because scaling your leadership takes effort, it creates a huge opportunity for you to differentiate from all the rest.
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