Last week I spoke to an old friend who is working for an entrepreneur with a capital “E”.
She told me, “I love working for him and this company. We’ve done so many great things and he’s been amazing to work for – especially during the pandemic. But he has so many ideas and wants to try them before we’ve followed through with the last idea. It drives the rest of us crazy. I feel like we keep starting projects and not finishing them. It’s so frustrating.”
When I told her that many of the entrepreneurs I’ve worked with have similar tendencies, she was floored. All this time, she thought she thought her CEO was unique. I think she was slightly reassured when she was not alone and we worked through some ways that might help her work with him better.
I’ve thought a lot about this conversation this week. It reminded me of how challenging it is for many founders/entrepreneurs to truly move into the CEO seat in their businesses and what it does to their teams when they don’t make that transition. While having a lot of ideas can be exciting, not completing tasks or often changing direction can be exhausting to the people we work with.
Becoming the leader your business needs is often at odds with how you’ve been operating. It was one of the main reasons that I wrote my book, Tandem Leadership. I knew if an entrepreneur could make some of those changes, they would ultimately have a better business. One that was easier to run and a more valuable asset over time.
And yet, most of us struggle to make those changes because change is hard. Ironically, for many of my clients, especially in the past 18 months, they’ve gone through tremendous changes – both personally and professionally. Some have lost family and team members, some have come precariously close to losing their businesses and others have had so much business success, it has overwhelmed them in a way they couldn’t have imagined.
I’ve concluded that it is the change we avoid that keeps us most stuck. Such as:
- Moving team members into the right seats or letting them go
- Learning to trust that for your business to grow your team needs to grow in talent and skills
- Knowing where you really contribute to your business and delegating everything else
- Finding your next purpose in your business that you are willing to do all the hard things to get there
In looking back over the clients and friends who have made the transition the most successfully, it really comes down to one thing. At some point, they had a big enough reason or vision that made them want to make that change. It really is that simple – but simple is not always easy.
Recently, one of my clients told me that they had the most profitable quarter of their business – and they had worked the least in their business and more as a CEO. What that meant for them was training someone to take over a service they had been delivering, letting another team member go and developing metrics that showed how the company was functioning in almost real time.
“A year ago,” they said, “I would have never believed it could happen.”
What will be different for you in a year?