The flywheel of growth takes a mountain of effort. You’re pushing forward and pulling the world along behind you.
Then, something pretty kick@ss happens: the flywheel starts spinning. Growth develops a rhythm and you’re building a completely measurable momentum. Your team grows and your metrics are firing on all cylinders.
Things are going well.
It hits the fan…
Something happens slowly, then all of a sudden. The days are filled with operational challenges, customer issues, sales pitches, hiring the next dozen people and an array of growth challenges you hadn’t imagined.
Your day becomes reactive and you start feeling like a juggler. That’s not so bad when you have control. But now imagine you’re a decent juggler that has a rhythm before something nuts happens: you no longer dictate how many balls you’re juggling. Instead, the circus crowd does. They’ve also decided that it’s time for you to juggle chainsaws, plates, wild animals and all manner of outrageously dangerous items.
They, the team and gravity throw one after another after another back at you. You’re knackered and battling the increasing chaos; knowing that dropping one could be catastrophic to you and everyone watching.
Rapid growth feels a lot like that.
It’s time to break that cycle.
The day running you
The day running you feels a lot like that crazy circus act I just mentioned. The rest of the circus crew watching nervously while you fight to stay alive at the helm.
Staff challenges, customer revolts, project blowouts, systems that aren’t scaling, cash flow challenges and every other possible business complexity hits you all at once. These plague leaders across high growth businesses and declining businesses all the same. Business growth and business coaching often involve an element of breaking this habit for a client.
The number of times I’ve seen this happen with coaching tells me it’s a regular occurrence. Even if your day isn’t that chaotic, you’ll know it’s running you if you get to the end of the day with a to-do list just as long (if not longer) than what you started the day with.
Want to run the day?
It’s time to set your intention and rhythm. Like all of our content, I’m going to throw a few key tips your way to help put you back at the helm leading your business.
- Set your intention – be brutally honest (aye, you’re only lying to yourself otherwise): do you set your intention for the day or just roll with it? If you’re not setting your intention, objectives and focus then the day will do it for you. You can’t aim for goals you haven’t set. This is the first critical step.
- Look for signals – contrary to popular belief, most ‘issues’ have signals that occur before the $hit hits the fan. That person that quit has been disengaged for months, you’ve been too busy to notice. That customer’s project that fell over hasn’t had a quality update in weeks, but no one checked on it. You have to look for the signals, The signals are everywhere. Look for tremors and you’ll be ready for any earthquakes.
- Get your team to run interference – with intentions set and signals watched, you can now take control. You don’t wait for he11 to break lose before you do something about it. Instead, once you know something is about to go awry, you get the team on it and striking early like a Navy Seal team primed to take control. It’s amazing what a small, focussed team can do if they’re used strategically before things get too large to handle.
- Automate, outsource or delegate – If you can’t stop an issue, persistent or otherwise, then you need to minimise the effort required to manage it. That means either automating (so a system can manage it), outsourcing (to a professional or otherwise) or delegate (give it to a kick@ss team member who can handle it). Any of these then means you get to go back to executing on your intentions.
- Let things break – this is ‘unconventional’ but some times you have to let the plates fall and break. Not everything matters and if you know the impacts are manageable then let it break. Don’t worry about doing everything perfectly or you’ll never get anything worthwhile done. Paypal famously turned off their phone-based customer service in the early days because scaling required them to make strategic choices with finite resources. It worked well because everyone knew why and it was a managed move. Do the same where you can.
Now take some of these tips and get control back. It’s your circus and it’s the Greatest Show (I know, I know).
Need help with growth, leadership or taking back control? Shoot us an email and we’ll get you back in control and kicking goals.