This may seem like an obviously simple question, but if you take a moment to really think about the answer, it may surprise you. So who does run your business? Take a moment and think of your employees or teams and I want you to compare them to a military unit. Which team is more efficient? Which team do you think has more fun? Which team do you think maximizes its potential?
If you answered the military team you would be correct. Why did you not answer your team? What did you see when you thought about how your team executes? If you were not happy with what you saw, where does the fault lie? With the team? Its processes? Or better yet, with you as their leader?
This may be harsh, but you are not alone. I feel that business leaders have become so afraid to hold their teams accountable for a variety of reasons that average performance is accepted. You are wasting valuable time finding ways to work around your team’s refusal to execute. I struggled with this as a leader a few years back and my epiphany happened when I realized I could hear myself saying, “I’ll just do it myself.”
What I was doing was getting the job done in the short term, but what I was really doing was training my employees to NOT execute. I was training them that I would complete some of their tasks as well as my own. I was training them to be the team I NEVER wanted to have.
What I had to do was change my outlook. Being liked is not the goal of a leader. Being respected and getting results should be the goal. Being a good leader for your business is much like being a parent. Your children are not always included in decisions but are expected to execute on them once they are clearly delivered. They also need reminders (training) and understanding repercussions (discipline) when they fail to execute.
I always try to find a clear way to remind managers, my team leaders and myself that they are in charge of their teams. In early September, I spoke at Autocon, an automotive conference held in Las Vegas. One of the lunchtime keynote speakers was Brian Benstock, the VP of Paragon Honda in NY. He shared his epiphany moment of what it meant to be a business leader and it was probably the clearest way I have ever heard.
“I reserve the right to run my dealership.”
Those were the words that got the 500+ people’s attention. This sentence came from a conversation Brian had with another automotive dealer and mentor as Brian was discussing his struggles getting his staff to follow his processes. The mentor looked at him and said, “Brian, when they come to take your dealership away because you are failing, they are not coming to your salespeople, or GM; they are coming to take it from you. You are on the hook. So I reserve the right to run my own dealership.” Brian continued to explain how he changed his outlook and implemented a structure of clarity for his team to follow.
Here are some ideas to implement in your business:
- Have a clear chain of command
- Be clear in expectation/results
- Be clear on process and execution
- Follow up and give clear training feedback
- Be clear on repercussions for failure to execute
It seems short and simple, but having the outlook that “I” as leader have to set the direction and “I” am responsible to surround myself with a team that will support the vision and “I” have to make the tough decisions to remove those who will hold me back may not be popular, but it is necessary or businesses fail.
Reserve the right to run your business, team or department the way you feel is needed to get the desired results.