Delivering success by viewing the business through the ‘eyes of the owner’
Imagine you are the ‘leader at the top’ in your organisation and you’re standing at a crossroads.
You’re wondering precisely how it is you got this far. You’re a long way from the start. You’ve enjoyed the journey so far and you’ve been aware of the direction you’ve been travelling in. Although it all seemed to be a lot simpler when you first started out.
You feel the hundred or so pairs of eyes staring at you from behind. They’re waiting for you to make a move. They’re waiting to follow. After all, you’ve brought them this far. But the choice before you is staggering. Hundreds and hundreds of directions lie stretched out before you. Each turn cascading into a hundred further options.
Each choice could be the right one to make, depending upon your ambitions and the ambitions of those eyes behind you.
Because of who you are and how far you’ve come, you find the view breathtaking, exhilarating and a little scary. You feel alive. As you ponder how far you’ve travelled to reach this strange new world, you realise that the next step is vital.
Everyone’s still behind you. Everyone’s still looking to you for direction.
…..so where do you go from here?
It’s not easy being the ‘leader at the top’
When you read the statement above, it’s not difficult to realise that it’s not easy being the ‘leader at the top’ in any organisation. The reality of the role is that it involves a great deal of soul searching, indecision, worry and stress.
‘Leaders at the top’ are often perceived as all knowing, decisive and confident. To the outside world and their employees they are bullet proof when it comes to handling the thousands of strategic and operational issues facing the organisation on the business growth journey. If only this was the case.
To many people, the mark of a great leader is their ability to accept that at certain moments on the growth journey they do not have all the answers to all the questions.
Many ineffective leaders – most of them overworked and badly stressed – try to lead and manage every part of their business on their own. Their default position is to state that ‘no one understands the business better than them’ and that without their contribution, their business may fail.
Of course this may be the case but one of the main reasons for failure is due entirely to the way in which ‘ownership and responsibility’ plays out in their business.
High-performing ‘leaders at the top’ in great organisations recognise that the strength of their business is dependant on the quality of their people and more importantly, the talent and performance of their immediate leadership team.
A different approach at the crossroads
Encouraging employees ‘to be entrepreneurial in the business’ has become a fashionable approach for many leaders nowadays.
Successful entrepreneurs have always made this philosophy an important part of the day-to-day workings of their organisation.
A few years ago, long standing client, Ian Blackhurst, serial entrepreneur and co-owner of Sale Sharks Rugby Club invited his leadership team to ‘view the group businesses through the eyes of the owner’.
He wanted his leaders to use their specialist knowledge and technical skills to support a wider strategic and operational focus within his group. ‘The eyes of the owner’ approach resulted in a more empowered and motivated leadership team delivering an accountability-led strategy for each business.
And although Ian takes ultimate responsible for the overall running of his group businesses, his team offer additional ingredients into the strategic pot on the business growth journey.
He never stands at the crossroads on the journey on his own.
Think about it. Why should the responsibility for the direction, strategy and ultimately performance of the organisation lie with only one person? Surely everyone has a part to play in helping create any growing, sustainable business.
The business growth journey is an experience unlike any other in the world of work and should be travelled and enjoyed by everyone connected with the organisation.
There’s also no fun standing at the crossroads on your own.
Best wishes on your journey, wherever it may take you.