Charlotte is an ambitious founder and first-time leader of a scale up in the engineering / technology sector and has spent a couple of years developing the idea into a workable MVP. Along the way, she has successfully received investment for the idea and has subsequently formed a team of employees around her. The problem is that now things are moving as quickly as she would want them to be, she is now having to manage employees, drive the development of the product, lead on marketing and sales and keep investors happy. There is just not enough time in the day. One of the biggest factors is that Charlotte believes that her employees are not necessarily working to a standard of “greatness”.
Over the past few years we have worked with numerous leaders like Charlotte. Our advice to them would be to try and get everyone pushing in the same direction and to remove some of the day to day distractions for you and your team. We do this by:
- Work out what your one wildly important goal is. Is it a new round of investment funding? Is it to attract more customers? Is it to complete the development of an existing or a new product? What is the one most important goal – the one thing that you NEED to do for the business to grow in the long term? Think about your personal ambitions for the organisation and about the companies immediate and long-term needs. What is the one thing that you need to focus on?
- Understand and identify what is holding you back from achieving this goal. What are the anchors that are slowing you down – the day to day activities that get in the way of you making progress?
- Once you have this, break this goal down into manageable, bite-sized pieces. Use a book as a comparison – if the first step is the title, this step forms your chapter headings. Please remember that all the bite-sized pieces MUST be relevant and play a part in achieving the one main goal. There are two schools of thought with these – the first being perhaps divide the actions objectives into departmental activities. This may make it easier to define clear objectives. However, this encourages a silo approach to working which may not benefit in the long term. The second approach is to focus on actual deliverables – i.e. achieving a first customer – and how everyone can play a part in supporting this objective.
- Creating a clear scorecard of progress. How can you measure the progress of each objective so that you as a leader and the rest of the team can understand what progress is being made? Ideally, we want relevant, targeted and clear measures that can easily be understood. They must be relevant to the objective AND the one overall goal.
- Create a habit and culture of accountability by holding brief weekly meetings to report on actions made over the week to achieve the objectives and scorecard reporting. The final aspect of the meeting is to clear the decks by discussing any hurdles to future progress and how they can be overcome and then to agree and confirm actions for the following week.
If Charlotte’s concerns sound a lot like yours, please contact us and we can arrange a convenient time to have a chat about the specific challenges you are facing.
“I have worked with Stuart for around 6 months to help me to develop as a leader and keep up with the demands of a rapidly growing start-up. The sessions provided a valuable opportunity for regaining perspective. I gained a lot from our discussions. I would recommend working with Stuart to any leader aiming to grow their skills and their business.”
Founder and COO