The ability to (1) dream up, (2) create and (3) execute new ideas is the calling of all entrepreneurial leaders. A healthy business operates and grows when the 3 legs of the tripod are in balance. As visionaries, we naturally and bravely bring the ideation, but typically struggle with the other legs: creating a plan for our ideas and committing to a plan fully to execute them. When the three are out of balance, a chronic start-stop dynamic grows between you and your team, and if not managed correctly can lead to team-wide burnout and a total lack of productivity and feelings of progress.
One of the most useful contributions we can bring as leaders to prevent this, is to recognize the value we as individuals bring to the tripod, and build strategies and teams to support the rest. Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach® teaches entrepreneurs to focus their energy only on what they are good at, rather than exerting energy trying to fix what they are not. I subscribe to this approach with one addition: focus on your developing your strengths, but simultaneously commit to incorporate the resources needed to supplement the missing piece(s) of your tripod.
Step one is to know yourself- your strengths and your weaknesses. If you haven’t take the Kolbe A™ index, start there. Your Kolbe helps you understand the instinctive ways you take action. The report will share a score of numbers 1-10. Simply look at where you are higher and lower, and build in the talent of others to supplement your lower numbers. Have your team members take the same test to better understand where they fit into the tripod you are creating. Note: If you fill your team with teammates who score just like you, your tripod will be out of balance- lots of ideas but no follow-through. Or, lots of planning and execution but not alot of new ideas.
Step two is to remove bottlenecks. In some cases, even when you put the other legs of the tripod in place, you as the leader can create bottlenecks for your team to fully execute. Be aware of this dynamic and build in strategies to help you feel more comfortable with letting go. Our Bottleneck Diagnostic tool helps you better understand your own tendencies around being a bottleneck and offers strategies to understand and modify behaviors.
Step three: Delegate with confidence! When you fully have the tripod in place, and you have removed bottlenecks, delegation is the next best step. Leaders who are used to doing everything themselves typically struggle most with this piece. But delegation is required for growth, and mastering it is the best way to move your ideas forward consistently. Get the delegation going with a tool like the Impact Filter™ to brainstorm success criteria. Hand it off to your delegation resource and let them bring it to life.
If you are a weary delegator, start small to build confidence. Focus on compartmentalizing larger tasks and projects into smaller parts to build your own confidence around delegation. Look at your completed Impact Filter and try handing off a bite-sized piece of your overall project such as research or data entry to build confidence around collaboration in this phase. Create alignment of expectation around the delegation by agreeing on who is doing what and by when and what success looks like for each piece. Share the vision for the end result of your idea with your support resource so that they understand the big picture of the project and how their piece fits into it.
Lastly, one of the greatest ways we can help our teams move our ideas forward is to promote a culture of discipline that starts with us. Once a healthy team is assembled, bottlenecks are cleared and delegation is happening with ease, the formula for success is percolating. A commitment from you (as the leader) to see the best ideas and projects through from start to finish with consistency will build confidence across the team. Managing your own impulse to jump from one shiny idea to the next and committing to what is already in motion is the greatest contribution you can bring to build out a strong foundation of collaboration and progress in your team.