If you were to start a new company, how would you manage your team? What would you do regularly to empower them to achieve more and grow as a strong leader?
As I've worked with clients recently, these questions have come to mind as I explore better ways to guide and support them.
For now, I’m not interested in building another company traditionally (with a team, overhead and others obligations). But, in reflecting on how I’d go about managing and leading a team generates insight for entrepreneurs who are.
In the hypothetical scenario that I launch another company, here is the simple foundational rhythm I’d use to lead and build that team.
Future Aspirations & Growth Opportunities
I’m most successful when I’m looking forward and defining what I want to happen in the future. Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. This activity forces me to stop for a moment, think about what I want, and articulate it. Doing so makes it more likely I'll actually make it happen and inoculates me from the pressure and criticism of others.
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” —Peter Drucker #theintenselife pic.twitter.com/3Mmrr1RNNF— John Mashni (@johnmashni) August 24, 2018
On the other side, I grow the most when I’m reflecting and learning from the challenges and contradictions faced along the way. Journaling and publishing facilitate this. What have I done? What worked and what didn’t? How can I change for the better?
The challenge with most of us is not the lack of ability to do these two things, but the lack of time, or more accurately put, the lack of prioritizing this time. This is why some of my small business owner clients hire me, to force the issue and spend the time to do the thing they know needs doing, but struggle to make happen. And while I can serve them for a season to build this habit, true success is when they continue without my involvement.
Leveraging Blogging To Make This Happen
As a takeaway from my Leaders Lyceum development experience, I've baked this looking Forward, reflecting back into my blogging schedule. The beginning of the year, I laid out my goals for the year and when November hits I’ll look back at those goals and other developments throughout the year as an opportunity of learning and memorializing.
My first blog of each month has me looking back at the previous month and the subsequent has me looking forward. By committing a blog at the beginning of every year and month it pushes me forward and provides another layer of accountability.
Looking forward and reflecting on the past are two fundamental habits for developing as a leader and accomplishing my goals. And these two fundamental concepts are the framework I’d use to lead and manage my hypothetical company’s team.
How To Apply This Framework With A Team
With my hypothetical company’s intentions (purpose, vision, values, & mission) articulated, my first hire or contractor and I would have a clear picture of where we’re going as an organization.
Nested under these intentions, we’d start the year by proclaiming our goals and which of them we’d each be responsible for making happen. Each month, week, and day we’d do the same.
What do we want to accomplish by this time period’s end that also aligns with the annual goals and the organization's intentions?
This helps us clarify and provide accountability as we share with each other (yep, it’s two ways). By doing this aspirational planning regularly it makes the dailies and weekly goal time spent much shorter. Not doing this usually leads to a bottled up reactive initiative to change and get focused.
At the end of each period of time, we'll reflect on our goals and how successful or not we were. And, we'll explore the lessons we learned along the way.
How do we change in the next sequence? How do we more effectively get stuff done and lead others (or ourselves)? This regularly reflection time allows us to grow rapidly, share what we’ve learned (practice teaching) and more quickly moves us towards what we’ve deemed as a success.
As the team grows, I’d localize these day start and end sessions to relevant groups of team members. Eventually, weeklies would follow and so on. The goal is never to eliminate these habits but to do them in a way that is most effective and relevant to participants.
Fading Will Happen, Fight It
This system of learning and growing works great for me in several current contexts where I’m able to apply a version of it. But, as effective as it is, it’s also very hard to maintain.
Many times in various seasons, I’ve failed miserably. But, the great thing about the system is if I flop today I have the opportunity to restart and get on track tomorrow. The ongoing tension also moves me forward even when I’m not following it fully.
There will always be a tension to move away from this structure, especially when things are going well. But, when things are bad or there is too much going on, this is the cadence that brings us back to the fundamental pieces we need to succeed at leading ourselves and team to the finish line.
Hero Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash