Best Practice

The Mistake

James Reid Every Growth-Minded Leader Cannot Afford to Make

Market demand for services were high, revenues and cash flow were great, and there was access to good amounts of cash. Expansion felt like the right next move for this West Coast business. After months dreaming up a robust vision for expansion, the owner concluded it was time. After hiring more employees and contractors, things were rocking!

Or were they?

Two months in, unease surfaced. Cash flow decreased. An aura of confusion encircled the leadership team and morale took a hit. When I arrived on the scene, the owner could not pinpoint what happened. When I asked why he wanted to expand, he responded, “I just thought it was the right thing to do.”

Therein lies the problem.

And this problem is a by-product of a BIG mistake thousands of expansion-hungry entrepreneurs make. They fail to consider one of the most important pieces to high-performance and success: CLARITY. Clarity matters because today, more than ever, consumers and employees demand higher levels of it from the marketplace and its leaders. If you are not clear as the leader of the pack, you will be singled out.

Lack of a clear identity and role is a recipe for disaster …

When you are not clear on who you are and what role you are going to play at each stage in your business, you are walking towards the door of confusion. When that door opens, say hello to things like irrational decisions, anxiety and depression.

When you step inside this way of life, your rough days outnumber the great ones.
And, more likely than not, your negative mindset starts to unravel your business culture and strategy.

Next, your people start to run from you. Then, you lose control of yourself and your business. Your product or service begins to suffer, and your customers find your replacement.

Without a clear vision, you are playing Russian roulette with a brick wall …

Most entrepreneurs simply put their head down and sprint to keep up with the ever-increasing pace of business. Problem is, they never take a minute to identify the finish line and how their business is going to continue serving its people and customers better than the competition. Pretty soon, everyone is lost in the shuffle and distancing themselves further from the strategy. “Hitting the wall” is closer than they think.

It is like walking around Disney staring at your cell phone. You may not run into anyone first thing in the morning, but as more people come through the doors, the odds are stacked against you. Once you hit the wall in your business, your pace halts but your competition keeps going. Momentum is first to go, followed by your loyal customers.

Lack of a clear mission will crush even the best vision …

Michael Hyatt said it best: “When you’ve lost your why, you’ve lost your way.” Too many leaders get off-center during expansion, even if they have clear visions. It is because they lose sight of why they are in business in the first place. The day-to-day overtakes them. And when you are lost, it is only a matter of time before you start to panic. When you start to panic, so does everyone else around you.

So, how can you get the clarity it takes to successfully lead your people and customers during expansion? Quite simple, actually. Ask and answer the following three sets of questions before you even think about diving head first in the growth pool:

1. Who do I want to become? Am I clear about who I am today and what is important? Am I living in alignment with the best of who I am? What roles best position me to excel with BOTH passion and proficiency?

2. What do I really want now in my personal and professional life? What am I most certain and clear about? In what areas am I uncertain or directionless? How can my business serve my purpose?

3. Why did I start (or buy) this business? If I could multiply by 10 my impact on the marketplace, are these reasons strong enough to keep me centered and focused?

Now, do not simply answer these. Assemble five to seven DIS-interested entrepreneurs who have successfully gone before you. Convince them of your answers.

These questions are an opportunity to tackle a high-performance habit that has proven effective by the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and executives. You deserve this level of clarity, as do your people and business.

So, get out your pen. Grab paper. Get away from every possible distraction and reward yourself with this first step toward freedom and focus. Do not make the same mistake that is destroying even the greatest of businesses. Answer the questions!

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James Reid is a certified high-performance coach, entrepreneur, and EOS implementer. He wakes up every day to help driven and ambitious entrepreneurs, leaders and athletes master proven disciplines in high-performance and business so they can win at home just as much as in business and sports. Visit jamesreid.com for more resources.

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