"It's lonely at the top." That's what a new client recently told me when we were discussing how he makes decisions and what his process looks like.
"Honestly," he said, looking through the glass window of the conference room, "We have a great executive team, but at the end of the day, gaining consensus is exhausting and not always possible. And sometimes I agree to initiatives that are less than ideal because the clock is ticking and we need to make something happen."
"Don't get me wrong," he interjected urgently. "We're doing really well. It's just that I know we could be doing so much more."
This is the frustration of a CEO of a $250M company. And he's not the only CEO of an established, growth-oriented company I've talked to recently who feels, despite their success, like they are running full speed ahead with weights on.
We talked for a bit. He knew some of the reasons they weren't growing as fast as he knew they could. But there were too many unanswered questions that needed answers to provide him with a plan that could get him what he wanted - - serious revenue growth.
He had originally contacted me because he wanted leadership development and sales training. He was frustrated that the sales team wasn't growing sales and were resisting the training program his sales managers had implemented a year ago. He said the initiative had early success but that sales were flat again and the team felt they had learned all there was to learn from the program. We discussed why that could be happening but he didn't really know if it was the people, the content, the training, or the sales leadership that was creating the problems.
Leadership development was a cornerstone of his own success and something he felt was important to offer to his people. In fact, they had been through nearly every leadership program and had read all the right books so I was curious what he was hoping we could offer. He told me that, while his leaders were well versed in most of the leading schools of thought, most lacked the ability to execute. There were those who could push an initiative through but some of them failed to get their direct reports to buy-in. Others simply "did their own thing" with varying results.
Again, even though he knew more about his people than most CEOs I've met, he wasn't clear about their skills and competencies. He didn't know their management DNA or how they were wired for leadership. He showed me graphs and tables, DISC profiles and StrengthsFinders themes. But he had zero data on skills and competencies. He knew his people's strengths but he had no information on weaknesses. He knew about their level of drive, he knew if they were motivated, he understood their work preferences, he knew their level of education but he had absolutely no idea what their level of skills were, what competencies they each needed to shore up, what weaknesses were going to derail them, and how much it would take to get them to the level he needed them to be to do the job he hired them to do. Shouldn't that have been the starting place - skills, competencies, DNA for the role?
It was as if the moon had eclipsed the sun for all those years and now he could see again. He had done all the steps in the wrong order. No wonder he wasn't getting the results he needed. Things were about to change...for the good.
If you're ready to finally get the steady overachieving results you need to grow your business to the next level, I can help you, too.
I help CEOs, presidents, and entrepreneurs grow their businesses. In addition to providing tools, and strategies, and consulting for growth, my company, Align Strategic, also recruits sales and sales leadership talent with guaranteed results. If you'd like to learn more about Guaranteed Sales Hire, click here.
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