I frequently tell business owners,
“A CEO’s job is to break things. Just don’t break them faster than your team can fix!”
I do believe that — someone in every organization has to push the limits to achieve the “next thing.” Someone has to call out the stuff that’s not done well and advocate for change. In most privately-held businesses, that person is you, the business owner.
What that looks like from your team’s perspective
That pushing, driving, and perfecting can feel a little exhausting to your team. They may feel like nothing is ever good enough. Or just as they are about to accomplish a goal, the expectation increases or moves farther away. Most “worker-bees” want to make things nice and keep things stable. (Which is good, because you’re not going to be doing THAT!)
In a big-picture view, that’s why it’s essential to have company values. Values tell us what we will say “no” to. Values are guardrails for our team. They keep the group safe and let them know that whatever you are pushing on or changing, there are limits. That’s reassuring to your people.
We balance those “no’s” with our BHAG or our strategic plan. Our goals tell us what we’re pushing toward. What we are achieving together that’s going to make all of this “worth it.”
The goals are the lighthouse, pushing the business forward. The values are the guardrails, keeping the company on the road.
Where’s the balance?
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to drive the company hard enough to meet the client’s demands, stay ahead of the completion, and make some money — but not so hard that you burn everyone out, or you’re bouncing from guardrail to guardrail, and risking sudden death.
If you are like many of the business owners I work with, you are great at the pushing, creating change, and driving hard.
What would it be like to spend some time celebrating wins, reassuring your team that you aren’t driving off the road, and making sure that everyone’s still got gas in the tank and their engine’s not on red?
How do you that find balance?