In Action, Change, Strategy

“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

Most people who lead businesses are extremely gifted, great learners, willing to try new things, open to new ideas, etc. Yet so many people who lead businesses make what seem to be horrendous decisions. Or, in some cases, they seem to make no decisions at all, and their businesses seem to just run along with no steering whatsoever until eventually they crash into a wall.

Why do so many leaders struggle to make good decisions when they’re able to figure out how to do so many other things well? Why do some leaders simply abdicate decision-making responsibility altogether? There are probably lots of answers to those questions, here’s what’s jumping around in my brain today.

I know a lot of leaders who aren’t really running their businesses because they won’t let go of all the other things they’re doing. So many leaders, especially in smaller businesses, are doing sales, marketing, HR, operations – the whole deal. They’re spending 18+ hours a day just working in the business, and there’s no time left for working on the business.

That can’t last. At some point growth/chaos/crisis/whatever will force you to pay attention. A business will not successfully run itself forever. Maybe you’ll get lucky and it will work for a while, but it won’t last. You have to steer or eventually there will be a disaster.

So get some inside help. If you don’t have the capacity to take on a CEO-type role, either get somebody to do the other stuff or get somebody to help make decisions. No business really becomes great if it’s a one-person show. At some point you have to have great people, the more the better. They’re not easy to find, and everybody wants them, but make no mistake – without them the ceiling for your business will be low.

Then get some outside help. If you’re avoiding strategy and decision-making because you don’t feel capable, then get educated. Study. Learn. Get a coach. Get an advisory board or peer group. You aren’t legally required to do it alone. You don’t have to prove to somebody that you can do it without help. Get some people involved that can make a difference.

Are you taking the time you need as a leader to think about the future? Are you taking time to think about markets? Products? People? Competitors? Or are you just burying yourself in the day to day details while your business slowly drifts off course? Think about it and answer honestly. Then get things back on track and going in the right direction.

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