In the last 6 months, I have looked into the eyes of some overwhelmed leaders. You are both in a tough position, because the team looks to you for strength and leadership, and yet you are human and hit the ceiling like anyone else.
- Who does the Integrator turn to for support? The Visionary
- Who does the Visionary turn to for support? The Integrator
- What if you sit in both seats? See below
Both of you should find a peer group in which you can feel safe to talk. Some examples include Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), Vistage, Young Presidents Organization (YPO) or, in West Michigan, Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring (JEM). Having a mentor or finding another peer group that meets monthly can also be a great place to get some help.
The most powerful thing you can do is to admit to your team that you are hitting the ceiling and then do something about it. Remember our first conversation about being a good leader is a lot like being a good parent?
- Have a few rules
- Repeat often
- Walk the talk
If you don’t walk the talk on taking care of yourself so you don’t hit the ceiling, your team won’t either – it is that simple.
Make sure you are supporting each other (or getting support from an outside group) and you are walking the talk when it comes to being your best.
TIP: Remember the Back to the Basics Checklist under the toolbox tab (p. 33) to help you think through what you need to do to break through the ceiling. And contact me if you need more help.
I teach and coach in a leadership development program through a company founded by Paul Doyle, a leader who I both like and respect. It is the one piece of non-EOS work I kept after I ‘burned the boats’ last year, and that is only because I like being around Paul. Hopefully you have a Paul in your circle.
In a recent class, he shared some of the wisdom of doing management by walking around. As a Visionary, your eyes see things differently than the Integrator or the other members of the leadership team, so give yourself a chance to go connect and observe.
Here are four things that Paul Doyle shared with a group of leaders that will help your walks provide a great return on time:
- Make the focus on learning, not problem solving (let people fight through their own problems – don’t direct them on how to fix it)
- Listen more than you talk
- Spread time equally over the whole organization, don’t just go to problem areas
- Comment on successes as often as you comment on problems
You know something is broken when people start saying things like, “Oh no, here he/she comes!” The Visionary is most often an owner too, so remember to take the owner hat off, get to know the people, and make sure they know this is your listening time to just check in and learn from the experts – them! The only way to work through the fear this new habit might generate is to just do it well for 6-12 months.
Don’t let fear of not knowing names, hating ‘small talk’, or not wanting to end around on the integrator keep you from spending time in the business with the people that run it each day. If you do it right, you stay connected, the people are inspired, and the learning will help you build a great culture and company.
As always – let me know how I can help if you have some restraining forces that need to be overcome.
If you’re not already taking weekly Me Time, I suggest you enroll in my Me Time for Leaders learning journey. Schedule this weekly time in conjunction with your walk around to allow you quiet time to digest what you learn and make notes to help you later. Find out more about this learning journey here.
As we approach year end, it’s a good time to think about your 2-day annual planning. Here are a couple of tips based on feedback from my EOS partners:
- Get out of town: I consistently hear great feedback from teams when they do an overnight, even if it is just from Holland to Grand Rapids or Grand Rapids to Holland – they like being away and relaxing together.
- Plan some fun: Do something together that is just relaxing and creates some stories. One team went to Chicago and saw two plays – the first on night 1 and another after they finished day 2. Whether it is a comedy club, feather racing at a local pub, fishing/skiing, or just a nice dinner together, do something fun. This planning can also be delegated because every team has a person with the unique ability of planning fun.
It will be on the agenda for our quarterly, and I encourage you to sell it to your team and get them excited about it. I am here to serve, so let me know how I can help.
I’m offering regular support on your journey toward people-centered leadership, with weekly reminders and a free coaching session. Bookmark this page to enroll on an experience when needed.
Managing chaos is hard.
In working with entrepreneurial leaders and leadership teams, the word ‘chaos’ is often touted as ‘whatever it takes’ or ‘do the right thing’ or ‘act like a superhero’. If you think these sound like values, you are correct. My reason for sharing it is NOT to encourage you to disregard your values.
Let me take you back to your 90-Minute Meeting and repeat what I said about strengthening your Process component: “Your handful of core processes define your business model. These are the key things that need to be executed on every day, and if that is done your business will become more profitable, more manageable, and honestly more FUN to lead.”
A defined process tells you where the organization needs you to contribute and also tells you what to expect the organization to do when you move on to the next thing. It also gives you measurables that allow you to watch the progress and health of the organization without having to dive in the details.
Processes help all of your leaders see what they are accountable for and allows you to delegate and focus your energy on helping them get unstuck when things stop working. They also help you manage the tension between groups that might see a process differently. Have you ever heard sales pushing for closing a deal and operations arguing about design or deliverables as not being realistic?
Defining core processes and measurables are part of the big 3 because strengthening these will provide a host of benefits to your organization. I have seen six-figure cost (and profit) impacts as well as leaders saying “I finally understand what my job is.” I have also seen RP/RS issues when a leader cannot demonstrate the GWC of their role by defining and implementing a core process. When an organization fixes that, things like growth and diversification start happening.
Finally, don’t forget the same page meeting. Maybe a good topic for your next one is to spend some time thinking about your process component.
Tips to get started: I have designed and delivered a workshop that takes 45-60 minutes per process to arrive at a draft definition, and another 30 minutes to draft measurables. I would be glad to demonstrate it to you if it would help you strengthen this key component in your organization. Get in touch if you would like to explore this option.
Resources launched for you
If you need extra support, take a look at these three guided journeys I’ve developed to help coach leaders to success in some of the fundamentals:
- Implementing a clarity break
- Getting to know your team (I call it People-Centered 101)
Remember Focus Day when your name went into the Visionary seat?
In watching visionaries grow into their roles, the top 2 frustrations I continue to hear are:
- I do not even know what I am supposed to do in this seat
- I feel like my input isn’t appreciated anymore
Do these feel familiar?
There is an answer for both, and if you need a reminder read Rocket Fuel. You should be reading it with your Integrator partner once a year to reset yourself on how critical your roles are and how even more critical your relationship is.
My continued piece of advice for my Visionary/Integrator teams are to do those same page meetings! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you get those started.
This visionary-only post is also about introducing you to another resource Gino Wickman is about to publish called Leap: Do You Have What It Takes To Become An Entrepreneur.
I know many of you coach other entrepreneurs, and I think you might enjoy this book. Take a look at Gino’s recent post introducing it.
Excerpt from post: EOS® is Adderall for Visionaries. 😊