I walked into my client’s office, and you could feel the excitement and tension in the air.
The business owner had been out at speaking gigs the last three days and came back with a fistful of business cards to follow up on, and she’s been tearing into those.
In the meantime, her operations manager is trying to figure out how to deliver on the work that’s already committed. The owner has been making promises, and he’s left filling gaps right and left. He tries to get her attention as she breezes through the office, but she brushes him off. “I need to do my follow up; we can talk later.” The look on his face as her door closed was pure frustration!
As we walk into the conference room, the business owner is flying high, and the operations manager is frustrated, angry and ready to fly off the handle.
In the argument that ensues, he accuses the business owner of not caring about the employees, of “dumping” problem clients onto his desk, “I’m doing my best here to put out the fires, but I feel like you came back from this trip with a load of firewood already lit. I can’t keep doing this…”
Are you growing a business that meets your needs?
I know some business owners love the excitement, risk, and intensity of the first situation. Maybe it’s gone too far with that crew, we don’t need people losing their temper, but they want to live “life on the edge.” There is a specific personality that’s attracted to entrepreneurial activity that loves that situation.
Unfortunately, there aren’t very many employees who love that intensity, risk, and chaos. If they did, they’d start their own firm!
There is another way.
So if we want to build a long-term team, if we want steady income growth for ourselves and our people, then we have to let go of that lifestyle of hustle, work ever harder, and take more and more risks, changing gears every week. If we don’t, it’ll cause burnout and turnover. Employees want a dynamic workplace where they can learn and grow, but they don’t want to live in a forest fire of stress that never ends. That might mean reigning in your natural energy and letting go of some of the intensity.
I know this can seem scary — that hustle and intensity was part of what got you through the start-up phase. But if you want a business that you can be a part of for the long-haul, where you can build a team that can help you to make the most of your opportunities without it all falling on your shoulders, then we need to find a way to do it without chaos, stress, and heroics. Your employees won’t put up with it, and it might not be right for you either.
More on this in Saturday’s email.