1. Passionately Lead Your Own Story!
A personal connection to the company and its purpose is an absolute must. Your colleagues automatically read any wavering of commitment, weak drive or impersonal connection to the mission! Integrity begins and ends with you! If there is a morale problem, look first to yourself! If sales execution drops, have you effectively shared your story and do the individual sales practitioners have their own story! If there is a lack of attention to details, have you asked for it and are YOU following up!
2. Innovate Often!
A ton has been said on the need to collect competitor data. I would agree that it is important to understand and know the waters in which you swim. That said, believing you need a product feature or service for every competitor’s widget is a formula for defeatism, hand ringing and lost sleep. Free the TEAM to Imagine the future and get them excited for the next big thing. This not only keeps things fresh but puts your competitors in that small box of envy and angst.
3. Trust, Delegate and Fear Not!
It freaks people out, but I often say “Delegate 100%”! How can you say that?, that is a recipe for failure! There can be obvious risk in this approach…but think if it did work?You have effectively multiplied and leveraged the organization potential by a factor of 30%! So how could this work? It is all about having an effective hiring process and gut feel… you need to have principled, hard working people that you respect, and look forward to their contributions everyday. Once those folks are in place and tasked with implementing an agreed plan, it is your job to make sure the resources they need are in place; cash, technology, training etc…. No system is perfect and if you think I am suggesting no follow up, you are wrong. We have routine formal monthly reviews, but I look to informal walk arounds to get a feel for how things are really going. This idea looks different in a virtual office workplace but you get the idea. If you delegate to the 100% standard you are free to be more strategic instead of worrying about how you can do your colleagues job better.
4. Admit Your Mistakes and Correct Them Quickly!
The biggest career error I have made is waiting too long to deal with problem situations or more vexing, problem people. Procrastination leads to all kinds of intrinsic festering. The procrastinating mind set is… don’t address it or them and it will eventually get better and I won’t have to do the hard work…but the reality is it rarely gets better. If you keep a problem person after you discover their limitations, your colleagues believe there are not consequences to crap work or bad behavior. You inadvertently create a loose culture of disregard. If you fail to address problems in your processes or service delivery you leave cash on the table and or worse lose clients. Always handle the toughest situations first each day.
5. When Things Go Well, Credit The TEAM and When Things Go To Hell, Own It Immediately!
Ok time to check your ego at the door! This one is hard to do and I have seen senior leaders who still thirst for the thrill of the deal and accolades that come with a senior title. We love our work and love to be recognized for what we do or have done. But here is the thing, most people stay with a company for long periods of time because they feel their work matters and they are recognized by their employer for their contributions. Recognizing the TEAM for their successes is fundamental to their job satisfaction. You are the leader…make it so and stay out of the limelight. The people who really know you will tell you what you need to hear. Now more bad news…at the end of the day to buck stops on your desk. If something is sour in your company, admit the short coming immediately and get the solution in process post haste.