As business owners we can often get lost blazing our own trail. Sometimes the jungle can get so thick that when we turn around we can easily lose our bearings, leaving behind our team, clients, customers and colleagues. Great business leadership is about balance, balancing and promoting acountability within your internal world with the external world of your staff, colleagues and customers.
The problem is our natural inclination is to not want to acknowledge our weaknesses. A disdain for vulnerability. For being wrong.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
We all suffer at the hands of hubris, especially those in a position of authority or those who have achieved some level of success.
Acknowledging that we are human and have this inherent bias is the beginning. We all have the internal call to be the solution, the chosen one, the hero or the exception to the rule. But it’s likely that feeding this inner dialogue will undermine our own success.
This is how we hold our business back, when we make decisions based on our own bias.
It’s actually impossible to have all the information and make a perfect decision in an ever changing market.
But, at the end of the day we have to make the call by asking ourselves:
Great business leaders set up trusted accountability structures that keep them honest and on track and open to change, even though it may contradict their own internal view.
Through accountability, great leaders learn to balance their internal world with the external.
These structures can be based on reports, data “fact,” observation, social structures, legal structures and operating structures. Having accountability structures in place will give you different lenses through which to weigh up your own decisions. But, the most powerful structures are the people we have in our world and our willingness to listen to their counsel.
Who should you be cultivating accountability with?
As business owners, we often make the mistake of becoming disconnected from our clients or customers, but they are often the best source of feedback for the success of a business. This feedback is crucial for the betterment of the experience you’re returning and future customers will have with your product or business.
Colleagues and staff
Your staff are also one of the greatest sources of internal innovation, brimming with ideas – they will give you great feedback if you allow them to. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and implement these changes. Whether these ideas work or not, often there is no harm giving these changes a try, while, building trust with those you work alongside.
No man is an island. A lot of small-business owners can become “Jack of all trades, master of none.” But, it’s wise to put experts in place to advise you in your business. Accountants, lawyers, strategists, marketing professionals – no one can be good at everything. Play to your strengths, outsource your weaknesses.
Find those who have gone before you or people you admire for certain characteristics. Have trusted mentors that you can go to with questions and bounce ideas off. Be open and honest about your feelings – they will be a wealth of knowledge to give clarity to your life.
Having trusted accountability structures in place will give you clarity in a world of opinion. It will equip you with the information and perspective you need to make the right decisions.
How do you know that they can be trusted or that they are wise counsel?
Well, you can judge a person by the fruit that their life bares. This is the outcomes of their character, abilities and track record, not just the image of the reputation they present to the public.
Aligning with these people and putting in place the right structures will give you the tools to navigate the complexity of your internal self, and balance the external world of your business.
Christopher Bartlett, General Manager, SEED