Friday, March 27, 2020

2 NonNegotiable Fundamentals of Business Building You Absolutely Can't Avoid

There is so much noise in the world of leadership and management today. Go on LinkedIn and just see the breath of information in your feed - kinda makes my head hurt. There's so much discussion about what leaders should be doing, what makes a great leader, etc. Do a search on Amazon or Google about leadership and management and millions of results are revealed.
                        As a key, anchor leader - this ^ is you!

One thing for sure, if you are a senior leader or one that owns a business, there are certain fundamentals you must have in place - above all others. And yet, so many other things are discussed - I call them shiny objects - that don't actively advocate and address these fundamentals.

Two fundamentals in particular are these:

1. If you want to grow a business, you must have a reliable, effective management team or teams. And this is not just in concept only, but a team in which you have complete confidence - one you utterly trust.

2. You are the cornerstone of your business, business unit or department.

What's A Cornerstone
My husband is in construction. He has built many a building in his career from a small home to a skyscraper. One building essential every one of them needed was a cornerstone. What is it?

The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

This same building practice holds true when building a business, department or team. Everything about you as the key leader - the anchor leader - is reflected in your business or area of responsibility... whether you recognize it or not. Even if you don't see's there. 

You are the cornerstone of your business or area of responsibility.
 Everything about your business is set and acts in reference to you.

Therefore, if there is anything in your business you want to change - you have to start with you. Additionally, whatever those around you actively seek to change, may very well be undone by you. I've seen it happen. 

This is very common when there is management training delivered by some random training company and the middle to lower tier managers"have to go through it", but senior leaders are exempt. 

Then when lower tier managers try to implement what they've learned, it's refused, rejected, not supported or undone by their direct reports. This reflects little to no cohesion or alignment of the leadership and management team values, principles and practices - all of which can be very confusing and frustrating to employees.

In my view, there is a tremendous amount of money wasted in this scenario and yet it's very common.

As an executive advisor, I want to caution you to not take this traditional popular route when seeking to build your management team. Work from the 2 non-negotiable fundamentals and do the following: 
1. Start with yourself. Set the stage and the example. Model what you want to see in others.
2. Be very clear on what you want and expect.
3. Consistently articulate clearly what you expect - leave no doubt.
4. Ensure that your 1st tier leadership is on board.
5. Decide how values and expectations will be deployed and monitored throughout your remaining management team.

To summarize, developing a trustworthy, competent management training begins with you - not HR. This approach is management training done right. If you'd like an expanded explanation of what it takes to ensure successful, sustainable management training - check out our Amazon Short - Top 10 Reasons Why Your Management Training Sucks

The Big Picture
When you take a macro view of your business, with you as the cornerstone in mind, you'll see that leading is not a "top down" scenario, but rather a bottom up - a completely reverse view than how a company is typically seen. Most are seen as hierarchies.

I invite you to see it completely different - see it from the bottom up. Your business or area of responsibility is built on you. A great example of this is the company Uber. If you study the personality and leadership behavior of its founder Travis Kalanick, you'll discover the company culture reflected everything about him. In his case, this was not a positive thing. It cost the company money and eventually cost him his leadership role and ownership. Imagine the business of your dreams being stripped away.

A positive example would be the company Zappos (eventually bought by Amazon just a few short years ago). The company was built on the values of its founder Tony Hsieh. It's a great case study which you can read in his book Delivering Happiness.

So what does your company or business reflect about you? Particularly if you are a small to medium size business, your company brand is your brand and vice versa. Another important question is - does your management team reflect you - the good qualities/practices....and the not so good. Does it reflect your leadership values and strengths and/or your weaknesses?

Ultimately the #1 most important question is - do have the fundamentals solidly in place? Or, are you expending resources - finances and time on important elements of your business -  but not the most important component fundamentals?

If this is something you think or would like to explore more, I invite you to take a look at how we address the core fundamentals through our Effective Executive Blueprint for Smart Management. Click here to learn more - view a short video briefing.

Also if you'd like to have a confidential discussion about what's happening in your business, we offer a complimentary 30 min. Q&A call - you talk, we listen. Click here to connect with us.

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