You don't learn how to be a great CEO or company leader in school. Of course, there are the born leaders, but many of us learn effective methods along the way.
That was the case for me. In particular, there have been three important lessons that helped me more effectively guide two startups toward success.
These three lessons, if iterated upon quickly, can help companies reach their success point much sooner.
1. Have the right people in the right seats.
You may have the right people on the bus, but are they in the right seats? One major challenge for most founders and business leaders is making sure the right people are in the right roles. Even if you've done your due diligence putting people in the right roles to help achieve your brand's vision, they might grow out of that role.
As you grow and iterate, certain individuals may no longer be the best fit for the roles they were originally hired to fill. Don't wait too long to adjust. Jim Collins talks about this idea in "Good to Great." When you're just launching a company, this is much easier said, written, or read than it is to put into practice. Just be cognizant about reevaluating roles and responsibilities frequently. Don't fall into the trap of holding people in a role too long. Put the right hats on the right people.
It's about setting the vision, aligning the roles accordingly, then tying outcomes to those roles. You have to trust the people to do the work, but also review the metrics of the set KPIs on a regular basis and hold them accountable.
Get people onboard with the vision, give them the room to decide how to get there, and put measurements in place so everyone knows they're headed on the right track.
2. Don't become too broad, too quick.
I'm very optimistic, as many entrepreneurs are. We tend to think we can accomplish a lot as it relates to our vision. This thinking is great -- it's what makes us entrepreneurs -- but it can also lead to becoming very broad, very quick.
One thing I see a lot of startup founders battle, and it's something I had to learn, is trying to tackle multiple things at one time. This leads to burnout, lack of focus, and it becomes a challenge to steer the team toward a goal.
A mentor of mine kindly reminded me of the value of being number one at one or two things versus aiming for 10 and potentially not achieve any of those goals. Don't run from those big ideas or vision, but do strive for laser focus and outline a clear, easy path to reach that vision. Get good at the one or two things, then go tackle the others.
Ask which one or two things you really want to nail in the next year. Would you and your team be fulfilled if those things were achieved and the others were parked for now?
Running through this process can be eye opening and provide a sense of relief that comes with a clear cut direction. It's how we found our true north, and it can help better align and streamline the team.
3. Recognize wins -- even the small ones.
We're so set on tackling that next mountain that it's easy to forget to celebrate the accomplishments. But I've learned taking the time to celebrate the wins is needed.
It brings more oxygen to the culture, and allows for time to reflect. Recognizing progress can even make your team more innovative.
An article in Harvard Business Review touches on the Progress Principle: Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.
And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creative and productive in the long run. Making sure we celebrate goals we've achieved has proven a game changer for us. It keeps the energy high and establishes a great company culture.
In building a business, keep in mind it's not just about having the right people, but also putting them in the right roles. Keep your focus dialed into one core vision, and be sure to recognize every success you experience on the path to reaching that vision.