“If there is any one secret of effectiveness, it is concentration. Effective executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time.”
~ The Great Peter Drucker
Let me know if this sounds familiar.
You are a talented and energetic Founder/CEO. An email from a more junior Accounting employee comes in at 10am while you’re putting out a fire with your Sales Team. This is the 3rd time you’ve seen this subject line from her and with slight irritation you redirect back to your conversation. By the time the conversation is over, you’ve received many more emails and texts and since you have a few minutes you hit the most important ones first focusing on customers and operations. In your usual fashion, you start to feel good about yourself because of your efficient, terse (perhaps one word) answers and by the time your 10:30am rolls in you’re proud because you managed to control all of the fires and even hand out some marching orders.
Let’s consider what happened here. You just sent some very important signals to your organization.
As a leader, it’s incredibly easy to allow demands on your time, resources, and emotions to let things slip then excuse that behavior. Afterall, there are only so many hours in the day and it seldom seems there are enough people helping. In fact, with the exception of a few key people, it often seems like you’re responsible for everything and dragging the entire organization.
But what signals did you send?
Those in regular communication with you know that they’re the priority. Those ignored know that they are clearly not the priority. These two conditions have far reaching implications but lets focus on perhaps the most corrosive signal which is that both see ignoring communication as an acceptable way to conduct business.
People are and should be expected to respond to communication, keep appointments, and work diligently to complete tasks or sets of tasks. But when the CEO ignores communications, misses appointments, or seems to be working on or issuing initiatives frequently and sporadically, the organization inevitably adapts to that in all of the wrong ways. An organization will mimic the good and bad traits of its leader. The good can be readily observed. The bad… can often fester unnoticed.
Why? Because success can be blinding and seeing through your own success just might be what it takes to make you the leader you’re striving to be. Whether you seek 10x growth or survival, understanding the signals you send is critical to the longevity of your business.
As that talented and energetic Founder/CEO, you may find that the organization thrives on your energy and enthusiasm. You may take it in new exciting directions. What you may also find is that the company will specifically succeed in areas that you readily measure such as customer confidence or satisfaction. A nice aside, customers will likely eat it up and love you because you will demand (and they will know) that they are rightly given the highest priority.
External problems, big and small, will be reported to you or handled expeditiously by your team.
Internal issues, big and small, may not even be reported to you. If they are reported to you, ask yourself if they’re given priority or if, like the 10am email from Accounting, they’re being ignored on some level.
As difficult as this is, your success may be a loud noise you should learn to ignore. More is that the 10am email from Accounting you hear as noise may be the signal you should be listening to so that you can send the right signals to your organization.
Learn to ignore noise and stop making noise yourself. Learn to listen for and send the right signals.
How you can start? Let Aurelius Consulting Company be part of your transformation with Executive Coaching. Be a master of concentration and focus. Have the right team and trust them. Listen for signals and ignore noise. Send the right signals.