Don’t Get in The Way of Your Leadership

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Leader

This week was a look at how easy it is for business owners to get in the way of their success.  Here is the story of one business owner getting in his own way. Jake has owned a large heating and air conditioning installation company for 18 yr. and suddenly it is about to go under.

Jake

Jake turned over the day-to-day operations of his company two years ago to two of his key staff.  In general day-to-day operations is the function of managers and so that was a good strategy.  On the other hand, Jake also stepped out, and unknowingly gave them the leadership of his company and this was his mistake.

Setting The Tone

For a business to succeed someone, typically the owner or CEO, sets the vision, values and the tone of the company. Staff, vendors and customers come to know this as the company’s brand which becomes how they feel about the company and what they expect in terms of customer service and product/service quality.

Abdicated Leadership

For two years,  Jake trusted these employees, thought they were doing a good job and left them to run the business while he found new projects/customers to serve.  This year Jake’s intuition told him he better come back as the leader of the company.   He felt compelled by his intuition to ask for financial reports.   With that both men quit leaving Jake with huge debt and little knowledge of the day-to-day operations, staff, vendors, customers and current operational procedures.

Admit Mistakes

Jake made several mistakes as a business owner but the one that harmed him the most was he gave up leadership of his company.

Jake had not been providing leadership from which all work would be done.  One person has to define the vision for the company, the values they hold, the products and services provided and the way everyone will interact with each other,  clients, vendors, investors, etc.  When Jake gave up leadership, the two lead staff took over setting their own vision, imposing their own values and setting the tone for working with everyone. This change resulted in financial mismanagement, decreased quality and delivery of their products and services as well as relationships altered.

Now What?

When these two men left Jake had a crisis on his hands.  He was in enormous debt, could not service his contracts, did not have qualified staff or systems in place, all the knowledge about the operations was held by the two that left and he had lost the faith of his bankers, staff, vendors and clients.

Jake’s Fears

How did Jake get into this mess?  It was simple and could easily happen to any of us.  Jake is educated and smart, but like all of us he does not know what he does not know as a business owner.  Two years ago he felt like he did not know enough to keep his business going so rather than admit his uncertainty and finding a way to learn how to take his business to the next level he abdicated his business to others.  Jake’s greatest weakness as a business owner is his fear of not knowing.  His greatest strength is his knowledge of his industry and the high values that he brings to his business.  His greatest fear, stated by him, is that he is not a leader.  Jake is clearly a leader in his family of 14 children and his local community where he works to inspire youth to get an education and sees his role as helping others to be employed and productive.   That sense of leadership is missing in his business.

Intuitive Perspective

Jake belongs to a very conservative religion that values humility and allowing others to be senior to them.  This affects his ability to set his crown at a leadership vibration.   Leadership from the crown chakra is different from the control and command form of leadership which comes from the third Chakra below the sternum.

From an intuitive perspective leadership vibrates in an energy center on the top of the head called the crown Chakra.  When you hold your head high and straighten your spine, you experience an energy change.  Try it. Suddenly you feel more certain. The crown Chakra sets the energy for our space.    We can use this energy center to set the tone in any situation.    Notice for yourself.  Those who hold their head high show the energy of leadership, seniority and certainty.  We notice, listen and pay attention to them.   Those who hold their head low, bowed or below others give off the impression of not knowing, not being important, being weaker and certainly not a leader.

Be Willing to Learn and Change

Jake created a successful company for 16 years based on the information he had available to him then he hit his limit.  He did not know how to manage or grow his $6 mil. company.  In his fear of not knowing, he gave up leadership.

When Jake came back into the company and realized how desperate the situation was he called to discuss business coaching.  He was willing to admit that he did not know what it would take to turn things around.  After working with Jake for a month I realized it would not work.  Jake’s greatest weakness he was his inability to plan and prepare both of which are essential qualities of a business owner and a leader.  It is, in fact, the most important ability, to work on the business rather than doing the work of the business.  He was simply unwilling to spend the time to create the vision of his company, define the brand he wanted to impart, to develop a financial or organizational plan and all the other foundational components of a successful business.  He admitted he hates planning and preparing.

As an intuitive, I see Jake was stuck in an old energy pattern or routine that is familiar and comfortable even if it is not serving him.  He was in resistance to changing his space, energy or focus.  So if nothing changes within us then nothing changes in our lives or in our creations.  In the end we stopped coaching as Jake admitted he could not take the time to plan.  He would try to put band aids on his problems for now.

Being willing to lead, admit what we don’t know and to change ourselves first are essential components of success.

As always, your comments and experiences are appreciated.

Best wishes on your success, Kay

Business Coaching

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Business Outside the Box

ImageWhat do you do when you cannot define what you do?  Sounds confusing and for those in this dilemma it is.  I have noticed an interesting trend among many small business owners.  They cannot decide what they do and from my perspective that is the wrong question.  The question is who am I and what do I bring forward?

Yesterday I visited a business owner at her office and noticed that she had three different businesses named on her door.  Have you met a business owner who hands you two or three different business cards for what they do?  I experience this quite often and have done it myself.

When I first met Dave I asked him what he did.  He was hard pressed to tell me specifically.  My impression was he helped with marketing your business but I was not sure how.  His company did website design, made videos, took photos, helped with mobile marketing, social media, etc.  I had another client who needed marketing support so I wanted to know so I could put them together.

Another client, Marcia, is struggling to define her niche.  She is an artist (sells her art), an interior designer for high-end clients, web designer, stager for fund-raising house tours, develops landscape designs, etc.  Her question is how to market herself. Stacy is the business owner with three business signs on her door and a long list of coaching certifications to define her business.

I work with business owners to define the business they are creating when it is not so much a brick and mortar business like my other clients, i.e., a very successful heating and air conditioning installation business.  Even my client, Kim, who owns a CPA firm, which seems pretty specific, is struggling to define her services and target market. She sees herself as more than a CPA.

This same dilemma can happen with professionals. Nicole has been a CFO for years and is looking for a change.  She spoke about her passion for motorcycles and teaching.   To her these are all different parts of her life.   Working with her I suggested that she not see them as separate but all that she is.  In the end she took a job as a CFO for a company that sells motorcycles and a job description that involved teaching and mentoring financial staff in each division.

From an intuitive perspective there is a new brand of businesses and professionals emerging that cannot be placed in a box.    All of these business owners have one thing in common.  They are all very intuitive whether they would define it that way or not.   They each have an intuitive sense about their area of focus.  For example, Dave is very good at “reading” a business and a business owner to decide the best way to set up communication between the company and possible customers.  Dave knows about online & mobile communications but his real talent is an intuitive sense of how to create communication.  What box does that fit in?  So if you ask Dave what he does, he is not a web designer, a video producers, a photographer, an apps developer, etc. though he does all those things.  Dave establishes communication.

Marcia helps you make your world more beautiful in any way that you that you want. Stacy helps you know who you are and what is important in your life.  Kim helps her clients get out of fear of money.  This is the truth of what they do.  This is not your typical business elevator pitch nor does it fit the traditional perspective that says you must fit into a box.  I am sure they wish that they could and want to but that box does not fit for them.

So the first question is not “What do I do?”  The trend toward out of the box businesses comes from the business owner knowing who they are, what is important to them and what they want to bring into the world then creating their business. Taking all that we are and seeing it as a whole and not apart brings us to a new place.  We can get a job, do work or create a business OR we can express who we are through what we do in our work or in our business.  It is a journey in self-awareness.  It is a new way of thinking about what we do.  It is more than the skills that we have.  It is who we are.

If you are going to work in a job or create a business why not chose to create one that reflects who you are even if it is out of the box.  The culture of business is changing and this is one of those ways.

Best wishes on your success, Kay

Can’t fool your customers

Cloud Smileys Your brand is everything.  Your customers and potential customers experience it everywhere they interact with you, your staff, your website, etc.  Knowing how you want everyone to experience and think about your business is the basis for your brand.

We all know this and most businesses work hard to have their staff represent their brand as well as having others experience it at all other possible touch points with your business, i.e website, print materials, ads and more.  This is important for your customers to feel good about working with you and to come back again and again because they like your brand and how it feels to them.

Researching a business insurance option recently I was attracted to a company because of their products, pricing and the brand image they promoted including friendly, efficient and personalized service.  They said they were fun to work with.  I experienced this from the account representative and was pleased with their brand promise as he described it.

The last step was to exchange documents. I took the opportunity to go into the company’s local office.  When I walked in I could feel the tension in the air.  The receptionist smiled, acted friendly and pleasant but the feeling in the space was completely different.  I could see and feel the conflict in this office.  I felt as though I was interrupting something.  I could not wait to leave.  I have not yet finalized my contract with them.  Their brand promise and how it felt in their office were not the same.

Everyone is intuitive.  Our gut reaction makes a difference. For this reason I work with my clients to not only express their brand in all the usual ways but to also in their office, store, warehouse, etc.  and to be aware of the energy of their staff.  Acting friendly and smiling does not hide the energy in someone or in the space.  The brand experience has to be genuine.  Everyone is intuitive meaning they can feel, see and know what is real.

Being aware of the energy experience in your office or your staff is important to your success.  If it does not feel right to you it will not feel right to your customers.  Take the time to notice the energy of your business, your staff, your offices, etc.  Take steps to change the energy if it is not consistent with the brand of your business.  This is not something you do once.  Monitoring the energy of your business is something to be done every day.

I don’t recommend that decisions are made from the gut or gut reaction but in reality people do this all the time.  Take the time to set the energy of your business to your customers gut reaction is consistent with your brand promise.

Best wishes on your success,  Kay

Contact me if you would like a consultation on the energy experience of your business.