Have you ever observed what happens when you are walking down the street and you turn your head sharply to the right (while continuing to walk straight ahead)? Eventually, you will veer to the right. The reason is very simple: the body follows the head. The same is true of organizations of every kind. The organization will go where the leader takes it. If your company is not growing, it might be because you are not growing. We reproduce not what we want, but who we are.
Let’s assume for the moment that you lead a $1 million company. The fact that you lead this firm says a good deal about you. For example, you think, act, and feel different from the people who are making $100,000 per year, and you know that.
Yet if you firm was stagnant at $1 million per year for the past three years, why would you think this year will be different? If you have been projecting growth of 15 percent or 20 percent, and you have not achieved it in the past three years, why would you forecast growth in 2013? Without changes, why would you expect growth now?
Are you the reason your firm is not growing? Remember that in any organization everything flows down from the top. If you have not changed or grown as a strategist, a leader, a manager, a marketer, a money manager, or a visionary, why would you expect something different from your company?
The harsh reality for every leader is that the leader is responsible (and accountable) for the growth, stagnation, or decline of the business or organization. Remember: the body follows the head. The organization you lead will always be a direct reflection of you.
If you want to change anything in life, there are four options: do more, do less, start doing, or stop doing. To determine how you should change in order to lead change in your organization, you need to answer four questions:
1. What do you need to STOP doing?
No matter what your level of success in life or in business, you are doing things YOU should not be doing. Your options are to stop doing them, to delegate them to someone else, to outsource them, etc. If you want to grow to the next level, you need to stop doing something YOU do not need to do.
2. What do you need to START doing?
If we continue to do the same thing in the same way, we will never achieve a different result. You must ask yourself what you need to start doing in 2013 to function differently and achieve a different outcome. Once you identify what you must start doing, you need to implement a process to ensure that you keep doing it.
3. What are you doing that you need to do LESS?
All of us perform tasks that could be handled differently in order to require less of our time. For example, C-level executives receive a large volume of e-mail. Many executives read and respond to every email personally. One way to reallocate some of your valuable time for other concerns might be to have your executive assistant manage your email so that only messages that require your personal attention actually reach your attention. Your assistant handles everything else and provides a brief summary at the end of each day. Your task is to identify tasks you can reduce in order to direct more time and energy to achieving critical growth goals.
4. What do you need to do MORE of than you currently are doing?
You did not reach a position of corporate leadership without knowing what activities produce the results you desire. If you are like most leaders, you simply have more demands than you have time. Now that you have identified what you need to stop doing and what you need to do less, you can identify the goal-oriented activities that make you a better leader. Not only will you have the time to do more, you will have the energy to perform at a higher level. When you focus your time and energy on the right leadership activities, your organization will follow and achieve the growth you need.
You can now use your answers to the four questions to draw a road map for 2013. Some of the steps you must take will require a change of attitude or changes you can make alone. Some steps will require assistance from someone else (perhaps your executive assistant). Some steps might require you to learn new things. Chart your course, and move forward to the future you want to create.
Remember, you cannot achieve change without making changes.