Entrepreneurship and leadership are fun, but they also can be a huge challenge. How do you grow your business in a way that is long term sustainable whilst also rendering enough profits such that you can invest in your people and infrastructure? How do you do this without totally giving your own life up because you have to work exorbitant hours? How will your family see you again and how will you manage stress to a manageable level?
Chances are that you have asked yourself these questions over and over again. Regardless whether you are the key leader in a small business or are the CEO of a large corporation the questions are typically very similar. Fortunately, the answers are amazingly simple as well. The key question here is only how comfortable you are to commit yourself to opening your organization up to an open platform. The more you are ready to open up to true collaboration the greater the chance that you will soon enjoy your co-leaders and employees becoming your co-entrepreneurs.
What I am inferring here is that you have the opportunity to develop your own brand that can become self-sustainable. This allows you to focus on planning the future development of your organization without you having to worry that the day-to-day operation will go awry without you being there. It helps to reduce your stress and that of everyone in your organization.
- Start with a quality product of service: Absolute important is having a quality product and/ or service to start with. Do not get this wrong and mixed up with clever or really unique. Excellent execution of what you have to offer to customers is essential in making sure that there is long term sustainability for your organization.
- Ego management: Skip this musing if you are not willing to let go of your ego. Long term sustainability can only happen when you as the leader are willing to not be the only one who speaks, directs, manages, generates ideas, etc. Egomaniacs make for miserable working conditions and no one needs another toxic work place.
- Safe working place: This is more than the physical safety at work. I am speaking about candor. Candor is the best antidote to your ego and that of others. Only when it is safe to speak about your company’s challenges will you get to the bottom of what your folks will need to fix.
- Communication management: Great conscious leaders make a huge commitment to open communication. Department meetings held regularly and also allowing for your managers meeting with their team members one on one regularly will provide ample information about where and how your organization and people need help. If you are really good, you will hold weekly company meetings where everybody can get a pulse of the organization and where their contributions make a difference.
- Collaboration heaven: Collaboration amongst your leadership team is just as important as allowing for this to happen with your customers and all of your employees. How else can you tap into the brain power and creativity of the people who do the front line work every day? Create a conduit and place where this information exchange can happen at a strategic and tactical level, step back, and be ready to be amazed what your folks can help create.
- Servitude: This point, of course, assumes that you have made it beyond point #2 above. Really great leaders realize that they need to view their role as the one who serves the folks who work for them. That does not means that leaders must do the work of the people reporting to them. What is more important than anything else here is that the team members feel respected, are taken seriously, and that their contributions count. Helping develop your employees by helping them excel increases the trust in you and the company and makes for very loyal followers – team members and customers alike.
- Commitment management: First and foremost is your commitment to invest all your efforts to make the changes happen that your team members helped develop. That fosters even more trust and ensures your organization makes a lot of progress. Once your team knows that when they come together and help co-create their future with you and you deliver the commitment allowing for continual improvement to occur, you will enjoy success almost guaranteed.
This is not an easy road to travel and definitely not a fast one. It represents a cultural change and those typically take a few years to fully come around to full fruition. If you expect your people to change, make sure you first ask yourself how you must change. Invite your team members – and I mean all of them – to help collaborate about if and how / what kinds of changes need to be made in order to serve your organization’s purpose (your “why”). Then leave them be, check your ego at the front door and be ready to be amazed how many people step forward with the desire to help you achieve your growth goals.
Guest Blogger Ralf Weiser is part of the senior management team at Aerzen USA Corporation. He has a dual BA in Organizational Dynamics and Human Performance Management and has a passion for leadership development through servant leadership and triple bottom line philosophies. www.ralfweiser.com.