Recently, I was reviewing this year’s progress with a long-time Summit Member. This year, his company will do approximately $2.5m in revenue. To get there, he is now managing Supervisors in the Field, Office, and Sales. He’s out of much of the day-to-day but is learning his own lessons in leadership. I’ve summarized below what he says he’s learned and implemented.
Stay informed, but stay out of people’s way. By far, he said, this has been the hardest aspect to implement. “I’ve got to let go or we’re not going to achieve our goals. I just can’t do it by myself; there are not enough hours in the day. As a result, I also have to let go of doing things my way. Now, I define the results that each role is responsible for and review it weekly.” Define the systems and outcomes you want your team to achieve, and then let them run with it.
Take the emotion out of it. Things will go wrong. “I’ve got to be the level-headed one,” he said. Help others manage their emotions, and manage your own, by saying things like, “Ok, let me think about it,” or “I’ll get back to you.” The point is, recognize when a decision is not needed immediately, which is most of the time.
Help prioritize. Basically, he said his role changed from “doing stuff,” to constantly checking in on “others who were doing stuff.” “At first, it felt like I was doing nothing meaningful; almost like I was the annoying guy looking into other people’s business.” But the new team needed help prioritizing and understanding their roles. That is, what they were and weren’t supposed to be doing. And what’s important now vs. what can wait until next week. “I never knew how important it is to say directly, ‘this is needed tomorrow,’ or ‘this is for next week.’ I took for granted they already knew when something wasn’t a priority. But they didn’t.”
Make an “Accountability Checklist”. Accomplish the above by listing what it is you want to hold your leaders accountable for. This is a list of all the outcomes you want. For example, updated receivables list by Wednesday; or next week’s jobs formalized by Thursday, etc. Each item got a check when done, no check if not. “They knew what I wanted to know, and they knew I was tracking it,” he said. This also helped the team prioritize.
After six months (much of which was, admittedly, baptism by fire) the team is performing. There are lots of lessons learned. He’s still learning how to let his team manage in their own style. Also, the systems may be more complicated than is necessary. The business owner has recognized that his way of doing things might not be the best way to go forward. Best of all, the team is on track to hit their goals and they are running the systems successfully. All the hard work has paid off.
What lessons or improvements have you implemented this year? Let us know in the comments below.
All the best!