Foundation

TO LOWER YOUR LEADERSHIP HANDICAP: GET A COACH AND STICK TO THE FUNDAMENTALS

There is nothing quite like a game of golf:  the opportunity to enjoy Mother Nature, breathe fresh air, and create memories that will last a lifetime – all while enjoying time with friends, loved ones, and colleagues.

While many golfers find it fashionable to be self taught, it would be wiser to find a compatible coach and apply their instruction.  Why?  One reason is because golfers cannot objectively take in their own entire swings.

So it is with Leadership Handicaps.  It is wise for those who want to improve their game to seek the services of an experienced coach.  A Leadership Coach can help undo deeply ingrained flaws.  These flaws may be so deep that the leader is unaware of them at all:  the flaws are guarded by a well constructed blind spot.

The top three key fundamentals to improve your leadership game are:

·       Grip

·       Stance

·       Posture.

Get a Grip

A leader needs to get a grip.  As the only connection to the business end of the enterprise, the team, too tight a grip tends to stifle desirable action.  Too loose a grip risks loss of the control needed to ensure that team members perform to the best of their ability. 

To check your grip, ask these questions:

·       Have I given enough direction?

·       Does my team have the time, tools, and resources to succeed?

Take Your Stance

Another often overlooked key fundamental is stance.  Why?  Stance dictates how far away the leader stands from the team in the tee box.  Too far away and the leader will be forced to make unnecessary and taxing compensations to execute.  Too close and the leader may not be able to get out of their own way.

To check your stance, ask these questions:

·       Am I setting the right parameters?

·       Does my team have the freedom to move nimbly on their own?

 

Assume Your Posture

Posture, perhaps of all the fundamentals, is most easily violated.  This is because a leader’s posture may feel right but, in truth, be completely wrong for the desired outcome.  Too much weight on the heels leads to bad execution and unforced errors.  No flex in the legs results in inconsistency.  It is wise for leaders to maintain a little flex if they want their teams to perform consistently over time.

To check your posture, ask the following questions:

·       What are my non-negotiables for performance?

·       Do I communicate these regularly to my team?

Other Leadership Fundamentals are:

·       Avoid Bad Habits

·       Focus on the Task at Hand

Avoid Bad Habits

Enroll with a Leadership Coach as soon as possible.  Do not wait.  Take advantage of this opportunity and you will be glad you did.

Focus on the Task at Hand

As you work, it is easy to reflect on something bad or a missed opportunity.  Do not do this.  Try your best to focus on the present, concentrating fully on the now rather than the past.

Try to gather your thoughts, breathe a couple of times, relax, and focus on the present.  You will notice an improvement and lower your Leadership Handicap as a result.

CRACKS IN THE CEILING

I recently moved into a new home.  You notice a lot of things about a home once you buy it and move in that you never noticed before.  There are cracks in the ceiling, leaky pipes, broken glass, and loose floorboards.  Most of these things are not important. They are cosmetic.

What does matter is the foundation.  Is it solid?

The people who previously owned this home did not spend time in their basement.  It was obvious when we walked through the house before buying: the interior was pristine.  The basement was a mess.

The first thing my husband and I did to our new house was to clean and repair the basement.  We addressed the cracks we found down there:  problems that no one would ever see but which were, ultimately, important.  A house needs a strong foundation and so we started in the basement and worked our way up.

The same rational applies to organizations.

Is the foundation solid?  When issues arise, and they will, do those issues get traced back to their source and addressed at a systemic level, or is your organization a series of patchwork fixes?

Here is one easy way to check and see if you have a foundational problem or a cosmetic problem:  does it recur?

Recurring problems indicate there is something flawed in the system itself.  It may be that the processes and procedures have not kept up with the times, and a new way of doing business that relates to the current contest is necessary.  It may be that the size and scale of the business has changed, but the system is still functioning as it once did.  In this case, the issue is two-fold:  the organization does not have a habit of planning for growth and, therefore, does not have the necessary infrastructure to deal with changing demands.

Take some time to do a walk-through of your current business.  Don’t be distracted by the cracks in the ceiling.  Look instead for the deeper foundational issues that are facing the organization.

Competition, a changing business climate, a dated organizational structure, leadership habits that so not speak to the current generation:  where are the flaws in your foundation?  It is of much greater importance to investigate and invest in those deeper issues:  they are what will deliver you long term success and vitality. 

Fix the foundation!  It will be worth the effort and investment and, ultimately, you will have fewer cracks in the ceiling!