22
Dec
08

Doesn’t want to mess up her “8”

I recently spent a day with a business owner who needed some help getting her business “unstuck.” All things considered, this was a successful business. It has a great location, impressive revenues, decent systems and a team of loyal employees. So, why is this business stuck? The answer is simple – the owner is stuck. It’s a classic case of a “reluctant leader.” And this reluctant leader’s affliction is more prevalent than most leaders would care to admit.
To gain a thorough understanding of where the challenges were, I met with members of the leadership team. In the true spirit of teamwork, they openly shared their concerns and recommendations for change. By mid-afternoon, the common denominator for all the challenges and frustrations was revealed. You guessed it, the owner needed to change first. As if in perfect unison, these caring and supportive managers were saying, “We want our leader to lead us.” I could see the owner’s discomfort level grow as her pattern of reluctant leadership was brought out into the open.
At one point, I asked all the managers and the owner to rate the business on a scale of one to ten, with ten representing excellent. Unanimously, they all said, “We’re an eight.” “Interesting,” I responded. “So what’s keeping you from moving up the two final points to be truly world class?” We all looked to the owner awaiting her response. After a few minutes of deep contemplation, she said, “I don’t want to mess up my 8.” Wow … this was a profound breakthrough to removing the roadblocks to achieving extraordinary success.
What was finally revealed here was the owner’s reluctance to become a no-compromise leader. Her settling for that “8” was keeping all of her hopes and dreams just out of reach. Her settling for that “8” assured inconsistencies in the execution of work and customer service. Her settling for that “8” chipped away at accountability and dialed down the sense of urgency in the entire company. It was a commitment to being something less than the true potential of an otherwise great company.
To move from that 8 to a 10 means that the boat will be rocked. It means that change will occur and everyone will be accountable. Yes, some may not like it and fall off the boat. Chances are, they should have walked the plank a long time ago. And since this business has been stuck at an 8 for so long, it’s going to require some extra rocking to get it moving again.
Yes, it was a day of breakthroughs. A loyal leadership team got to tell their leader how much they needed her to engage as their leader. An owner revealed her reluctance to lead and close the gap between something less and achieving true excellence. Together, they focused their energies on change and what it means to live the no-compromise mantra every day.
Are you afraid to mess up your “8” and be the no-compromise leader your business needs you to be? Chances are, it’s time for you to stand up and rock your boat before someone else does it for you.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

inactionI recently spent a day with a business owner who needed some help getting her business “unstuck.” All things considered, this was a successful business. It has a great location, impressive revenues, decent systems and a team of loyal employees. So, why is this business stuck? The answer is simple – the owner is stuck. It’s a classic case of a “reluctant leader.” And this reluctant leader’s affliction is more prevalent than most leaders would care to admit.

To gain a thorough understanding of where the challenges were, I met with members of the leadership team. In the true spirit of teamwork, they openly shared their concerns and recommendations for change. By mid-afternoon, the common denominator for all the challenges and frustrations was revealed. You guessed it, the owner needed to change first. As if in perfect unison, these caring and supportive managers were saying, “We want our leader to lead us.” I could see the owner’s discomfort level grow as her pattern of reluctant leadership was brought out into the open.

At one point, I asked all the managers and the owner to rate the business on a scale of one to ten, with ten representing excellent. Unanimously, they all said, “We’re an eight.” “Interesting,” I responded. “So what’s keeping you from moving up the two final points to be truly world class?” We all looked to the owner awaiting her response. After a few minutes of deep contemplation, she said, “I don’t want to mess up my 8.” Wow … this was a profound breakthrough to removing the roadblocks to achieving extraordinary success.

What was finally revealed here was the owner’s reluctance to become a no-compromise leader. Her settling for that “8” was keeping all of her hopes and dreams just out of reach. Her settling for that “8” assured inconsistencies in the execution of work and customer service. Her settling for that “8” chipped away at accountability and dialed down the sense of urgency in the entire company. It was a commitment to being something less than the true potential of an otherwise great company.

To move from that 8 to a 10 means that the boat will be rocked. It means that change will occur and everyone will be accountable. Yes, some may not like it and fall off the boat. Chances are, they should have walked the plank a long time ago. And since this business has been stuck at an 8 for so long, it’s going to require some extra rocking to get it moving again.

Yes, it was a day of breakthroughs. A loyal leadership team got to tell their leader how much they needed her to engage as their leader. An owner revealed her reluctance to lead and close the gap between something less and achieving true excellence. Together, they focused their energies on change and what it means to live the no-compromise mantra every day.

Are you afraid to mess up your “8” and be the no-compromise leader your business needs you to be? Chances are, it’s time for you to stand up and rock your boat before someone else does it for you.

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership

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