As a leader, owner, president, or CEO do you feel at times like you’re trying to swim in this ocean called “the marketplace” but you struggle to keep your head above water? Do you feel like a concrete block has been tied to your ankles, pulling down even your best efforts?” Does it seem like your results don’t reflect your hard work? Do you wonder if you are a failure?
I can assure you that you are not alone experiencing this season of “troubled waters.”
My dad died unexpectedly when I was 20-years-old and a recent university graduate. Suddenly, I inherited the leadership position of our small family business of five employees along with a shocking revelation!
Not only did I become the leader of our business, but I also learned our little business was carrying a HUGE debt! I’m talking about an enormous debt with very little income!
An Uncomfortable Conversation
One of the first things I had to do was to have uncomfortable, one-on-one conversations with those five employees. I had to ask each of them to take a pay cut. Yes, you heard me correctly – a pay cut!
Those were the most difficult conversations I had ever experienced as a still “wet behind the ears” 20-year-old kid. I was shaking as I went about those conversations because I knew this was going affect my employees’ ability to support their families.
To my surprise, I received 100% acceptance to my request. I believe they accepted out of respect for…
- My dad, because he really took care of his employees.
- Me, because they had experienced my work ethic to serve them (rather than be served) on the moving trucks and at the storage warehouse since I was 12 years old.
Seven Days a Week
As I took the reins of the family business, I worked seven days a week (working IN the business), and during the normal workweek, I was always the first one to arrive and the last one to leave, late at night.
For the next year and a half, I found myself working harder and harder IN the business. I needed to drive for results by executing the tactical action steps just to meet our daily and weekly needs.
Are You Part of the 85%?
As I have mentored struggling leaders, departmental managers, owners, presidents, CEOs, and other C-Level executives, I’ve found that 85% of them are working harder and harder IN the business. They’re focused on the tactical action steps, like I once did, that are required to run the business on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
I have also found only 5% of leaders have a mission statement and strategic plans, only 5% have a purpose and vision statement, and finally, only 5% have identified their core values.
Please see my Values-Driven Organizational Hierarchy below. I have spent about 20 years refining this diagram. I’ve added to, subtracted from, changed the look, and changed the wording to reflect new insights as well as helpful feedback from others.
I have used this illustration for all these years to help our employees understand how independent each element was, and at the same time, how interdependent all the elements were in relationship to each other.
Well, you no longer need to feel like you’re sinking in an ocean of despair. Instead of working harder and harder IN your business there is a better way! A different approach allowed me to rise above the choppy waters and achieve better results for myself and my company. In future articles, I’ll share more about this new approach.
Have you had seasons of despair with your work or career? How did you overcome them? Have you ever had an uncomfortable conversation with an employee? How did you handle it? Please leave your comments <here> and share this article with a friend or coworker.
Click <here> or the image below to download a free copy of my Values-Driven Organizational Hierarchy.