The primary goal of leadership is to have influence. Leaders should have the answers. They don’t need help. Right?
Wrong. Attaining leadership is more complicated than it might seem. How about leading through power and authority? Lead the way. This, too, has inherent limitations.
Why? What if he doesn’t know the way? What if this (whatever-it-is) has never been done? Power and authority only get you so far. They have a limited sphere of influence. They can maintain the status quo and strengthen boundaries. They might even extend borders, build strong walls, control or mitigate bad outcomes, contain and constrain you-name-it. A leader who wields power and authority to get stuff done inherently imposes his ‘way’, which is, by definition, limited.
On the other hand, the leader who has the courage to be vulnerable immediately creates opportunity for all possibilities. She opens the door to the unknown. She invites change, collaboration, discovery, evolution, growth, innovation, invention, questioning, transformation, and transparency.
The leader’s job is to enable this environment and provide a framework within which her team can influence reaching whatever goal lies ahead.
Are you courageous enough to be vulnerable?
Courtesy: Glenn Lopis at Entrepreneur
Before Selling or Exiting
Most business owners hope to exit at some point. Typically, this means you, as the owner (President, CEO), are no longer there or are not there as often. Whether you plan to sell, pass it on to the next generation, or be a helicopter-CEO, there are seven things you need to do before you step away. The bad news is that you should have started this process from day one. Yes. From the day you started the business.
The good news: you are actually reading this and thinking about the steps. Your mindset (1) is the first step. If you only work ‘in’ your business and never work ‘on’ your business, then you are the business. In this scenario, when you step away, the business loses its greatest asset: You.
You have this great idea (a business), now what? If you step back and think about how you direct others, the answer is clear: processes (2) and procedures (3). Your people need some rules to play by and it is your job to provide that direction with constraints. If you fast forward to your ‘exit’, you may know exactly how everything in your business works, but you won’t be around to ensure that same outcome. Now is the time to provide guidance.
Once you actually have some traction, you will need to continually build efficiencies (4). Hopefully, you are focusing on what to improve and how to make it happen. When you’re gone, will this continue to happen?
Now that you have a business that is focused and improving, it is critical that you have the right team (5) to keep the business growing. Remember, you will be gone at some point. You’re better off building and testing your team when you’re around, and gradually step away. As your team develops, you can work from home, take a day off, and maybe even take a vacation.
As you can imagine, business owners expect profit (over time) and they don’t like surprises. Any prospective buyer (or CEO) will look at your finances (6). This is more than your balance sheet and P&L. Buyers will want to peel back the layers and look around corners.
While you may have guessed the last item, we encourage you to be diligent (after all, you will encounter due diligence) and read the full white paper.
If you are really serious, answer 20 simple questions to assess: is your business ready to be sold?
How does your digital utilization stack up?
Knowledge Management is critical, but futile if not digitized. Assess your digitization relative to the rest of the middle market by seeing below what others are doing in this space.
Courtesy: National Center for the Middle Market
You’re looking over your sales numbers and thinking “what happened?” This isn’t where you’d expected to be at this point or maybe not even where you were last year. Whether you’re starting out new or have been operating successfully for years, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate what you’re doing.
Sales isn’t rocket science, but it does take expertise to be effective. Look at the five elements below as ingredients for a successful sales process, and you’ll see what may need tweaking in your organization.