Leadership – Don’t Over Complicate It

As with many things in life, people tend to over think leadership and what it means to the success of their organization and themselves.  CEO’s, Boards, and other management often take so much time to think and re-think their vision, strategy and plan that they either never get to a point of execution  or by the time they do, the market has changed.  Additionally, by that time, their employees may have lost interest.  Leaders then become frustrated and start the infinite “do loop” process over again.

When it comes to leadership, don’t waste time overthinking it.  As Tony Jeary communicates in his book Strategic Acceleration, leaders need to look at Production Before Perfection (PBP) – a strategy that focuses on “starting instead of finishing, and then adjusting as you go”.  Think about it this way, it is a generally well accepted fact that companies measure and are measured by results.  However, you can’t produce results until you start doing something.  By sitting back and waiting for perfection, you are basically doing nothing.

Consider the Pareto Rule or the 80/20 rule – where 80% of the results come from 20% of the action.  Instead of acting, some people spend 80 percent of their time waiting for the last 20 percent of the data or information.  All of this time could be spent making progress instead of waiting for perfection.

Leadership doesn’t have to be complicated.  If you think it is, answer these 2 simple questions and you will be off to a good start and can re-evaluate and adjust as you progress and learn:

  1. What’s the WHY of your business?  People want to be part of something that has purpose and that they can understand.  By establishing the WHY of your business – setting a simple purpose for your organization, something that gives your team a reason to come to the office or do their job each day, you will see improved engagement and performance.  Purpose is something that filters down to everyone in the organization and they begin to see how they “fit” and help with the success of the company.
  2. WHO Are You?  Being a leader is much more dependent on WHO you are than WHAT you do.  People can generally see right through fabricated and scripted attempts at leadership.  Too often I see people who read a book (or a blog) and try to mimic what someone has stated as a critical leadership skill.  Leadership is about your values and beliefs and how you bring them into the culture of the organization.  Be authentic.  How are people treated?  Does management listen?  Do you allow people to follow their plans to achieve goals or do you micro-manage their every step?

Be humble and realize that individual contributors are just as critical (probably more critical) as the senior leadership in an organization.  Everyone contributes in their own way and if you set the right purpose for the organization and it is filtered down to every employee, the sum of the parts will be greater than any single individual.

Being a leader may be challenging at times, but don’t over complicate the role with by overthinking your plan.  Even if you know that you are only 80% there… get started and adjust along the way.

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