Monday, December 5, 2011

5 Things to Avoid If You Want to Do Well

In last week’s article, I talked about how leaders are different from managers.  Leaders intentionally create problems to drive innovation and accelerate revenue growth.  Managers solve problems.  This time I will give 5 tips on strategies that can give you unwanted problems.

As a rule, it is rare to hear me discuss what you should not do.  There is more power pursuing what you do want, rather than focusing on what you don’t want.  This week I am making an exception. 

While the don’ts I have outlined below seem like common sense, most people underestimate the reason they should avoid these simple tactics. 

The 5 don’ts:

1.     Don’t micro manage.  Unless you want to take away the confidence of your people, show them that you don’t trust them and increase resentment, don’t micro manage.     

2.     Don’t give them answers.  Instead of giving your people answers according to your beliefs, let them work it out.  You can ask questions to help them figure it out on their own.  That way, they learn more.  And more importantly, they become better at problem solving.  If you don’t do this, your people will depend on you to figure out solutions on a daily basis.  (To execute this effectively takes patience and can be counterintuitive for brilliant leaders.) 

3.     Don’t ignore market trends.  If you see changes on the horizon, don’t ignore them.  Or your customers may be exploring those new trends with someone else.

4.     If you are using an acquisition strategy, don’t rely solely on the acquisitions for growth.  You must continue to secure new clients.  Acquisitions are a very expensive way to grow an enterprise.  Organic growth is more effective, less costly and empowers employees to feel like they are part of a winning team.  

5.     Don’t expect all of your employees to think like you.  Many times the identity of the enterprise is the same as leadership’s.  When there is no diversity of thought, you can miss opportunities or develop huge blind spots. 

In a global marketplace where change is the competitive edge, these 5 tips support any company that is plagued by constant fluctuation. 

While many industries feel their challenges are unique, the role of leadership is to create the future.  Once staff and management are clear about the direction of the company, it is easier for the CEO to coach, direct and guide.  Oftentimes, this requires the skill of constantly managing change, which sometimes resembles the captain of a ship navigating through a storm.  Organizations that are most comfortable managing the discomfort of change are better positioned to execute and lead their industry.    In some cases, a business can create disruptive technology and lead new industries. 

To stay ahead and away from unwanted problems, get clear about what your organization will accomplish and watch the pitfalls of the don’ts listed above.  If you find yourself doing the don’ts, you will also find yourself mired in the day-to-day operations and putting out fires, instead of guiding your team or company into new growth opportunities.  By avoiding the don’ts, you can empower your people and give them the skills to make tough decisions without you, while increasing revenues and customer satisfaction.

I look forward to your comments below. 

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