We’ve seen all types of leaders at the companies we’ve worked with:
- Some leaders can get an idea into the marketplace, but don’t know how to establish a business around the idea.
- Some lack a “feel” for the marketplace and the flexibility to establish a presence and position for their business.
- Some only know how to do – or want to do – part of the work that needs to be done to build a company.
- Some can take a company to a certain revenue level…but not further.
- And so on.
Most of these leaders had serious plans for building successful, lucrative businesses. Only…it’s hard to start with an idea and then lead a business through all stages of growth. The leader needs to know what to do at each stage, take the right actions at each stage to get all the right work done, and manage a growing staff and business. There’s no blueprint for getting this right; business plans alone don’t get you there. Too many times, we’ve seen leaders and their companies underperform, even fail, because the leaders simply did not know how to lead for growth.
At Vecker, we have studied leadership, because we realize that the right type of leadership at the right time and place is essential to business success. Successful leaders adapt to the needs of the situation and the business’s goals.
We have identified three fundamental areas that affect how successful a leader will be as a business changes and grows:
Thinking: the leader’s mental approach to the work. How does the leader view himself or herself, and does that view shift as needed through the business’s growth stages? The mental approach of an “entrepreneur” only takes a business through the initial stages; can the entrepreneur turn into a growth leader?. Someone focusing on the operations of getting a business started may not be able to step back and plot a growth strategy; can the leader balance operations and strategy?. Someone managing a staff through the stress of early growth needs the emotional intelligence to plan and direct work effectively; can the leader hire and work with the right people to drive business growth?
Acting: The role the leader plays and the characteristics displayed. Is the leader a “player” or a “coach?” Entrepreneurs are usually players, but they need to take on more and more of the characteristics of a coach as they build their staffs and companies; can the leader make this shift? Does the leader lead by example, or get frustrated when staffers don’t act as wanted? How does the leader handle the inevitable conflicts, changes, and challenges associated with business growth? How does the leader use power and influence to accomplish what needs to get done?
Doing: The actions the leader takes, the results delivered, and the methods used. What is the leader actually doing to create growth and success? Is the leader getting the desired results? How is the leader running the company? Does the staff agree with the actions? Is the leader meeting the responsibilities inherent in the business? Most important: Is the leader changing actions and methods as needed to meet the demands of each growth stage in the business? Or is the leader stuck in what he or she knows how to do, and is this keeping the business from moving forward?
When the Vecker team works with companies, we assess the leadership: how they think about their work, whether they can play the roles needed, whether they know what to do and can execute the right actions. We look at how effective they are at leading at each stage of business growth, and we assess whether they are capable of continuing to meet growth goals and build marketplace value. We then work with leadership to develop and use the most effective Thinking-Acting-Doing for the business’s growth stage.