Large businesses are finely-tuned machines that dominate markets. Here are three ways for top leaders to lay the foundations of growth.
What do great leaders do differently that not only sets them apart from their peers, but allows them to get the most from their teams as well?
There is a difference between a leader and a manager. Managers are all about execution. Leaders need to set an example that others can follow, so that they can focus on growth.
1. They don’t micro-manage people
Great companies are built on teams that are self-motivated and have the discipline to deliver on tasks. If a leader is micro-managing, they don’t have the time to work on the business. Leaders should be focused on growth strategies, accessing new markets and innovation. They should not be monitoring each employee’s daily tasks.
“I’ve created an environment where I don’t need to check diaries,” says Kate Moodley, owner of Discovery Consulting Services Bedfordview, Discovery’s top franchise in 2015. “We’re not clock-watchers, we’re output driven. My sales team has a shared target, and everyone is accountable to the rest of their team members.
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If targets aren’t met or if someone misses a meeting they don’t have a closed-door discussion with me – they have to answer to their team. I believe in complete transparency, and in employees who are self-disciplined.
I’m willing to give my team a lot of latitude; for example, mothers can bring their babies to the office if they need to. On the other hand, I have zero tolerance for nonsense. I’ve found that if you’re clear on your expectations, it’s much easier to hold your staff accountable for their actions, freeing you up to work on high level growth projects.”
2. They meet their obligations
Business owners have a lot of commitments, ranging from paying invoices and suppliers on time, to delivering client orders to a consistent level of quality, to maintaining a fair and productive work environment for their employees.
Psychometric assessments have revealed that entrepreneurs who score higher in the commitment range tend to have more successful businesses in the long run. This is because a leader who understands their obligations and strives to always meet their commitments in one area will be as consistent across all aspects of their personal and working lives.
Business is all about trust. Clients, suppliers and employees are more likely to work with a person whom they trust, and a consistent track record is a great precursor to earning that trust.
3. They know what their ‘north star’ is
It’s accepted business practice that successful companies need a mission statement and values that everyone – from clients to employees – can understand and embrace. In the case of clients, this means that your target market understands what you stand for and why they want to do business with you.
For employees, it’s a crucial way to ensure alignment and that anyone representing your brand in the market place does so in a way that entrenches and enhances what you stand for, and doesn’t destroy your brand image.
Within this ideal lies your ‘north star’. What’s important to you? What will drive business growth? This should be only a handful of metrics that you can measure. Have too many, and your company will lose focus. More importantly however, it allows you, your management team and your employees to always stay ‘on mission’.
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“You need to know what your north star is, and be ruthless in sticking to it,” says Aisha Pandor, co-founder of Sweepsouth.
“Healthy debate within an organisation can be extremely productive, as long as everything can be evaluated and scrutinised against your north star. Does it align with your core values and what you’re trying to achieve? Will it impact your core metrics? If the answer is yes, go ahead. If it’s no, don’t put any more time, energy or investment into it. It’s that simple.”
Know who you are, what you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. Once you’ve created the map, others can follow.