José Luís González Rodriguez is a Partner of ActionCOACH Spain, as well as a mentoring and business consulting expert.
Today we wrap up a five-part series on the various modes leaders assume in business management. To recap, the five modes are:
• Fireman Mode
• Inertia Mode
• Endogamic Mode
• Excuse Mode
• Shortsighted Mode
The fifth and final mode, Shortsighted Mode, occurs when leaders spend too much of their time immersed in the daily operations of the company.
Think of a giant ship. There are those in the engine room with grease-stained hands who make it possible for the boat to sail. Equally important is the captain at the command post, watching the crossing and what is happening around him. Translated to the business world, the CEO or leader of any team really must keep an eye on the increasingly globalized and changing market, the competition, the changing desires of consumers and any new opportunities that may appear on the horizon. In order to steer the company, the leader should have a general knowledge of how the engine room is performing but cannot be down there 24/7. In other words, the leader cannot be too immersed in the day-to-day business.
The companies I’ve seen that work best are those where owners spend most of the day out of the operation, using that time to think, read, observe and see the company from a distance. This allows them to avoid the dangerous Shortsighted Mode. To this end, I recommend the following actions:
• Create a “control panel” made up of a list of key performance indicators — such as level of sales, level of benefits, etc. — that the company has chosen to gauge its evolution. All of this information should be stored via enterprise resource planning software and easily accessible. This control panel allows you to know from a distance what is happening at each moment in the company. This way, you have the information needed to make an accurate diagnosis of the situation and, more importantly, implement an action plan.
• Clearly define the functions of each role and team. Establish KPIs to effectively demonstrate the level of performance. This way, each person knows what is expected of them and there is no room for excuses.
• Enhance internal talent by establishing a leadership engagement program that improves management and communication skills. If others are not equipped to do their job, it is impossible for the leader to detach themselves from the day-to-day business.
• Develop a culture of decision-making and risk-taking. People and teams need to be trained to make decisions and know how to make decisions in the face of difficulties.
• Make the effort to start delegating to other people. Abandon the idea that decisions should be made only by the leader.
• As the leader, set aside times in your day for tasks outside of the day-to-day business. For example, include time for networking as well as analyzing the environment, market trends and industry developments to anticipate continuous changes.
• Lastly, you can hire a business coach to help you implement an entrepreneurial culture that helps teams become more autonomous and responsible with their tasks.
In conclusion, these measures allow leaders the necessary time to reflect and adapt to the continuous changes that are taking place, thus ensuring that you — and the company you lead — are more competitive, efficient and modern.