Hitting the Ceiling? 5 Leadership Traits to Break Through Jeff Chastain July 29, 2020

Hitting the Ceiling? 5 Leadership Traits to Break Through

Are you frustrated with the current state of your business?  Obviously, today we are dealing with a global pandemic that I do not know anybody planned to do their yearly planning last year.

However, your business can hit the ceiling in any number of different ways at virtually any point in time.

Perhaps you have a key employee leave or take an extended time off for medical or other reasons.

Or perhaps you have simply been wearing too many hats, and the business has grown to the point that you are the bottleneck, and growth is stalling because of that.

Business does not grow in a smooth straight-line path

If you look at how a child grows, they have growth spurts, and sometimes these growth spurts are accompanied by growing pains.  However, the human body is an amazing system that can adapt and heal itself.

As business leaders, we need to apply that same concept in our business as it is natural and guaranteed that we will hit rough times.  There are 5 key leadership abilities that a leader and their team need to have to ensure that the business can break through that ceiling and regain momentum.

Simplify … doing less, and doing it better

As a business grows, complexity ensues.  For example, if you have a two-person organization, you have a simple, single line of communication.

When you add a third person to the mix – a 50% increase in headcount – you now end up with three separate lines of communication – a 200% increase in complexity.

Now, add a fourth person to the mix, and you end up with twelve lines of communication – a 100% increase in headcount resulting in a 500% increase in complexity.

A true leader must be relentless in seeking out and minimizing complexity throughout the organization.

Delegate … focus on your unique ability

I will admit, this is a challenge for me as well.  When you start a business, initially, you are wearing a lot of hats.  In many companies I work with, this still tends to be the case as the company is growing but does not yet have the resources to put a different person in each seat.

However, as the company grows, individuals wearing multiple hats will become limiters to growth, and it is imperative to identify those blocks and learn to delegate responsibilities down the chain.

Predict … long-term and short-term outlook

If you do not have a plan, you have no idea where you are going or how to get there.  This leads to waste and inefficiency as you burn resources with no real target.

From a long-term perspective, a good leadership team has a vision and a plan and can execute that plan to achieve the vision.

From a short-term perspective, a good leadership team can identify and solve issues as they appear, making them go away permanently rather than continuing to rehash them over and over.

Systematize … doing things the right way every time

When you have a process – your sales process, your manufacturing process, your customer service process – and John is doing things one way while Sally has a “better” way of doing it, then things will fall in the crack and not get accomplished.  Now, if you had Tom to the mix, does he follow John’s way, Sally’s, or create his own path?  Either way, he wastes time and resources trying to figure it out.

The more you can systemize your way of doing things – your core, key processes – and get those processes followed by everybody in your organization, the more efficient your teams become and the better quality product and service you provide to your customer.

Organization … stepping outside the box and building the right structure

A solid organization starts with the right structure.  This structure is the “seats” that are necessary to run your business optimally.  By taking the people out of the mix and stepping outside your business, you can identify the optimal structure, including roles and responsibilities.

Then, match the “right” people … those that follow your core values and subscribe to your vision and philosophy … to the right seat, which they get, want, and have the capacity to handle.

Do not make it harder than it has to be

Leadership is not for the faint, and it requires work.  However, utilizing the right tools and building a strong foundation in your business will be more like a house built on the rocks vs. a house built on sand.  The storms will come, but a solid foundation means everything.