Earlier this week, I posed the question:
Will the same talents that made you a successful entrepreneur (agent) serve you well in a leadership role (managing a team or organization)?
The answer is yes, but only if you’re able to make some important adjustments in how you apply those talents to managing your team or organization.
The insight on this topic comes from venture capitalist Jeff Busgang and was recently outlined by Geoffrey James in Inc. magazine. In our discussion earlier this week, we learned agents who successfully make this important transition learn to recruit, learn to coach, and learn to plan for setbacks.
In the start-up phase and later as successful agents, most agents never have the opportunity to focus on these tasks. But, they are important components of scaling any business. (i.e. duplicating a single individual’s effort).
Busgang and James go on to highlight three more avoidable mistakes entrepreneurs often make as they move into management.
Focusing too much on setbacks
While it's essential to have contingency plans, if you focus too much on "what could go wrong," you can demoralize your employees and (just as important) yourself.
What to do: Compartmentalize your planning so that it doesn't affect enthusiasm. Once you've written down your plan, put the [contingency document] on a shelf and forget about it. Let the fact that you've got a plan free you from having to worry about it.
Not enough relationship building
Entrepreneurs often find themselves lurching from crisis to crisis, which leaves little time to concentrate on the personal side of the journey, the building of the relationships that will matter long after the crises have passed.
What to do: Commit regularly to meeting with your [executive team, employees and agents] to do something enjoyable that's not related to work. These events can be as simple as get-togethers at a local restaurant or as elaborate as a week with Habitat for Humanity.
Neglecting your corporate culture
Companies that win "great place to work" awards and have high retention rates (and hence lower personnel costs) always have leaders who specifically set out to create an environment where people like to work.
What to do: Make working for your company more than just a way for employees to earn an income. Give your technology team challenging problems. Give your marketers the best tools. Publically praise your salespeople. Generously heap credit whenever and wherever it's due.
Whether you’re new to managing a team, or you’re the owner who founded the company 30 years ago, these are important lessons for each of us to consider. Which one of the six “avoidable mistakes” do you struggle with most?
I’ve been managing a team for over 10 years, I still find myself falling back into an entrepreneurial mindset. I often fight the urge to do something myself rather than trust those I’ve hired to help me grow. I think I’ll focus on all six of these insights...
Have a safe and joyful 4th of July holiday. It took much courage and strength for our founding fathers to establish our country’s independence. May we all aspire to demonstrate a similar level of strength and courage in the endeavors each of us have been given.