Why does your business exist? No matter what kind of organization you are leading, whether you are an executive in a huge corporation or a solo entrepreneur, you have a concept of what your business is about. How you think about that question will greatly determine what your business looks like a year from now.
In simple terms, you either believe your business is here to become better at what it does today, or to accomplish something different tomorrow. The nature of your business is either to perpetuate its current function, or to grow into a new one.
You as a leader are either focused on the future, on innovation, creativity and risk or you are focused on process, precision, and attention to detail. While some extraordinary leaders have acquired the ability to be good at both of these things, it’s rare that one kind of leader can stand to live the other life for long.
Most leaders either have the mindset of let’s build something great on this land or let’s go conquer new territory. It’s important to know which leader you want to be and which path is more invigorating for you. If you are longing for new frontiers and find yourself charged with improving execution of a current process, it feels a little like playing tennis with a baseball bat. If tweaking and perfecting are what you love and you are forced to focus on blue sky thinking, well that’s just as tough.
Your business may need both, depending on which phase of growth it’s in. Make sure that if you are a conqueror, you surround yourself with some builders. Just as important as hiring them though, is giving them enough autonomy to actually get the job done. Nothing is more challenging for a builder than you coming in and changing the plans every day to satisfy your need to innovate. The same is true if you are a builder at heart but your business needs to explore new growth opportunities. This challenge is often more difficult because, in the cycle of business, conquering comes before building. You have to be strong enough to allow others to innovate and take risks that you might not be comfortable with. You have to let them be in front.
The most important element of finding success, no matter which category you fall into, is knowing the truth about yourself. It’s perfectly ok, in fact it’s better, to do what you love as a part of leading your business. What can kill you is not understanding what that is or allowing your strengths to interfere with the job that others are working to accomplish.
No one wants to find themselves in a role that they don’t enjoy or a place where they can’t be their best. As a leader, know what role, in a larger sense, you should play in your business. Then, make sure you allow the others in your business to be at their best as well.