So – you’ve got a problem in your business. It’s keeping you up at night. It’s impossible to navigate. It’s impossible to the see the options.. It’s impossible to see the way forward.
It is all consuming.
When you are faced with this type of business problem, as a leader it is often hard to ‘see the wood for the trees’. Especially if you have a million and one other problems which fall to you to sort out.
Alarm bells should be sounding – why haven’t you established a process for sharing this burden?
I was speaking to a Business Coach/Mentor the other day and we were sharing ideas. Interestingly, he uses the same phrase about Business owners working ON their businesses rather than IN their business as the key to moving the business to the next level.
Problems to solve? Why should it fall to you and you alone? It is time to share the load. Trust in your team – you have surrounded yourself with experts after all.
If your business processes are set up correctly, and you have the right infrastructure in your team, and they are productively ‘getting on with it’, without your intervention at every turn then it should be a collaborative approach to problem solving which resolve issues which crop up.
Many moons ago I was a General Manager of a Theme Park in the Middle East, with all different kinds of people from many countries and cultures working for me. The culture of work in that region is extremely servile, for a number of reasons I won’t talk about today, but for me, the challenge was to eek out the collaborative side of the team, regardless of their position. It is difficult to do that when 90% of your team can’t look you in the eye as they deem it disrespectful. By attending every team brief, by having an open office door, by speaking to people in the canteen whilst I was making a cup of tea, I established a more trusting, open and collaborative working environment.
When I had problems, I went to the team about them. What would YOU do in my position? What options do we have? What am I missing? Why have we always done it that way?
When we did land on solutions, then the team supported their implementation as it was them who had come up with them in the first place.
I never forget Faisal – one of the ride operators who came into my office one day, very tentative, very slowly and said, ‘Ma’m Victoria (yes – I hated that!) – you said you wanted some ideas which would make things better for us, well I have a few of mine I’d like to tell you about’
I ushered him into my office and asked him to sit down, which he did, sheepishly. He then produced a till roll from his pocket, which he unfurled like something out of a sitcom, and then proceeded to talk me through his 74 (yes – 74!) ideas for improving things. I listened. Some of the ideas weren’t actually that good, but I honed in on one which could well work..
Much to Faisal’s surprise, I leapt up from my seat, and then I enthused about Faisal’s idea – would this work? How could we do it? Can we do it now? The Duty Manager and Faisal implemented it straight away. It made a positive impact on the business from then on. The next day, I spoke at the team meeting, and Faisal was a hero. I then had a queue of people at my office with their own till rolls in hand…
You should have the systems and processes which allow this collaborative approach to problem solving to work like a Swiss clock. Embrace the challenge. Bite the bullet and let go.
It will pay off. You will get more sleep!