Most business leaders come to a point in their career when they feel like they are not really in control anymore.
For executives, this can happen when the goal they are trying to accomplish gets bogged down in details. For entrepreneurs, it can happen when their business gets too big for them to oversee everything personally. There are dozens of other reasons this feeling can arise.
They all make you feel like you’re constantly chasing a rabbit down a rabbit hole, or you’re way off in the weeds, thinking about something you need a qualified employee to handle for you. You feel like you’re putting out fires constantly, and that you’re solving problems that your team should be able to solve themselves
Usually, when someone finds themself in this headspace, it also feels like there is no escape. If you don’t put out that fire, it will consume your business. If you don’t venture out into the weeds, wrong decisions might be made that could have unforeseen consequences later. If you don’t chase all these rabbits, they will get away.
Worst of all, your customers, vendors and business partners can often sense this lack of control. You need to get on the phone, personally, to maintain relationships and to calm nerves.
Feeling trapped in that sort of situation can be extremely frustrating. It not only affects your business, but it affects your health and every aspect of your life.
You sense that you are not really running your business. It is running you, and it seems like its running you in circles. You aren’t going forward. You’re just chasing rabbits in a chaotic pattern that leads nowhere.
Let the Rabbits Go
I’ve worked with a lot of executives when they feel this way. And there are two critical things you need to understand before you can free yourself.
The first thing you have to understand is that your managers and your team members probably feel the same way you do. They probably feel like the ground is shifting under their feet. They feel like, no matter what they do, doing something else might have been better. They feel like, no matter what decision they make, a slightly different decision might have been smarter.
The second thing you have to understand is that you, the leader, have to be the first one to stop. You have to be the first one to lift your eyes to the horizon.
Your people need your leadership more than they need your help. Your employees are trying to work because they like your company. Your managers are trying to figure out how to succeed.
There’s plenty of energy around you. What you need to do is to channel it in one direction. So let a few rabbits go, let a few fires work themselves out, and let your team handle “business as usual” as best they can. Set aside your frustrations, and take the space you need to look at the horizon.
Tame the Rabbits
As soon as you can stand still and point at a clear strategic objective for your company, the energy around you will change. As soon as you can say, “This is who we are,” you will give clarity to everyone on your team. As soon as you can say, “This is what we are going to become,” you will empower everyone to do the best things, and to make the best decisions.
Your Core Values define “Who you are.” Your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) defines “Who you will become.” These are two fundamental components of your Strategic Plan.
Once you know what they are, your frustration level will drop dramatically. Your clarity of vision will skyrocket.
When your managers know, they will understand exactly how their department contributes, and they will know exactly what their deliverables are. And, they will know why. They’ll be able to catch all the rabbits, they’ll be able to go confidently into the weeds on their own, and they’ll prevent 99% of the fires before they even start.
They’ll become better managers. When their employees know your Strategic Plan, they will understand why they are doing their job, and they will feel great knowing that they are helping the company succeed.
Your customers, partners and vendors will all feel the difference. They’ll hear it in your voices, and witness it in the way you all handle things, and they’ll enjoy it through the results they get from working with you.
Your ability to run your company will return, in full force. And it will feel great. We’ve seen this happen over 8,000 times.