Are you getting sucked back into the daily drama, details, and problem solving that you (supposedly) hired others to take care of? Are you unable to pull your head out of the minutia of running a business to think about where that business needs to go next? Are you reacting to daily and hourly crises instead of being “proactive”?
Sprinter and Rabbits
If you’re a successful entrepreneur, you probably have a strong bias towards action. You’re a doer, a decider, the action gal. It’s a big part of why you’re successful. Like a fast running sprinter, or the hard to catch rabbit, you move fast..
A sprinter runs so fast and so hard they leave everybody else behind in the parking lot. That’s good if you’re ahead of your competition. If you’re leading a business it may be a problem.
If everybody else is still trying to figure out where the finish line is when you’ve already crossed it, then you’re not really being a leader. The idea of leadership is to get everybody across the finish line as quickly as possible. Not just you.
The rabbit is also fast. A rabbit who is trying to evade a coyote will zig-zag and change direction quickly. Also not a bad thing if you’re taking advantage of opportunities and can change direction quickly to stay ahead of your competitors.
This doesn’t mean your staff knows which way you’re going next, or if they’ll be able to keep up. It may seem to them that they’re chasing a crazy rabbit who keeps changing its mind.
If Nobody Else Can Keep Up, Maybe They Aren’t the Problem
Your bias to action comes with a blind spot, sometimes. Making sure the team understands where you’re going next as a company. This helps them make decisions that line up with the company strategy (so you don’t have to), or anticipate where they need to be next. You may be frustrated that people don’t seem to get it, or keep up, or have the same excitement or energy or engagement as you. But they’re frustrated with you too.
They’re frustrated because you’ve left them behind, or they’re tired of chasing your zig-zagging rabbit backside. They can’t see the stuff you, the leader, can see. And you’ve taken off without sharing what’s happening in your brain. So what are they supposed to do next? You could hire mind-readers, but my wife isn’t available.
You’ve lost your staff. As an entrepreneur or leader you can’t do it all yourself, and you’ve learned (hopefully) how to delegate and supervise. This frees you up to do what you do best: Create and discover new opportunities, get out in front of emerging markets, anticipate changes, hire the right people.
You may keep getting sucked back into the daily drama, details, and problem solving that you hired others to take care of because you keep running away without telling them where the finish line is.
You Need Them, They Need You
You do have to recognize that people can’t read your mind. People don’t know what you know, and they certainly don’t know what you’re thinking. Changes in speed and direction need energy, especially for the non-rabbits.
Those detail guys and gals sometimes drive you nuts, but they keep you out of trouble. Worker bees get the mundane but important things done every day. The ones that are effective and efficient and complete because they take their time and think things through. And drive you crazy because they can never decide anything without you.
Maybe you can’t slow down to their speed, and maybe they can’t accelerate to yours. But you can meet them halfway.
What You Can Do
* Think a little more
Sit on your new ideas before throwing them out, and expecting people to understand what they’re supposed to do next. Not every idea you have is a good one, so don’t overwhelm the detail guys and gals with stuff that’s not going to happen because you change your mind tomorrow
Keep your message simple and repeat it constantly. If you can’t explain what your company does and who its customers are in a way an eighth grader can understand, then it’s not simple enough.
* Listen more than you talk
Close the loop and listen as intently to your internal staff as you do your customers. You listen to your customers, right? This will tell you if your message is getting through, and having the desired effect. Adjust as necessary.