Ideas to Inspire Your EXTRAORDINARY
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I recently joined a few podcasts to discuss a common challenge for many small business owners, getting stuck. Many people mistakenly think that only failing businesses are stuck. So I'm launching a new series of short articles to explain how successful companies get stuck.
Please read the following statements about your work and identify all that describe you.
Each of these statements is a symptom of being stuck due to role and responsibilities misalignment. Here is why.
As a business owner, there is absolutely no doubt that the buck stops with you. The diverse demands require you to wear many hats, especially in the early years of building the business. As time passes, the default organizing principle is to place you in the center of everything. Thus, the demands for your time and attention follows the expansion of task complexity and volume. Without intervention, this becomes a self-replicating cycle.
In every business, the moment arrives to progress beyond the frenzy of the start-up culture. Achieving a sustainable equilibrium requires the organization of roles and responsibilities into formal positions. Teamwork evolves from all-hands-on-deck crisis mode to high performance achieved through the systemic design of communication and process flows. This shift only occurs through focused intention and design.
If misalignment of roles and responsibilities has you stuck, let's talk! Click on my FREE Initial Coaching Session now. Check back next week to learn more about how to Get UNSTUCK And Move Your Business FORWARD.
It's official! Yesterday we celebrated my older daughter's eighteenth birthday, and I have successfully raised another human being from birth to adulthood. My daughter is an artist and poet. She has worked since age 14 and has never been fired or failed to take her commitment as an employee seriously. She is excitedly preparing to leave for college next month, paid in part by a generous academic scholarship she earned with her hard work during high school.
I am very proud of the young woman I raised, and I think her father and I are successful parents. However, this result doesn't mean that every moment of parenting was flawless or that we didn't have a time when we were failing miserably.
So in honor of my firstborn, who taught me almost as much as I taught her, I'd like to share a few lessons I've gleaned.
ONE. COMPLIANCE AND COMMITMENT ARE NOT THE SAME
We've always had expectations in our house about doing your part. At a young age, this related to putting away toys. Not cluttering the front entry with school bags and lunch boxes followed and expanded to include tidying the teenage bedroom. I've never achieved a commitment to these expectations at any stage. I could get compliance by helping, supervising, or threatening punishment, but the ownership always remained with me.
For a large portion of my daughter's school years, I resented her non-compliance. I experienced her lack of concern for my wishes as disrespectful and her failure to comply as defiance. I personalized her behavior as a judgment of me, which caused me to take on the work myself until the resentment boiled over, and I once again forced in-the-moment compliance. For years, we did this dance until I permitted myself to stop cleaning for her and let it go.
TWO. PEOPLE TOLERATE YOUR CONCLUSIONS BUT ACT ON THEIR OWN
As a parent, there is a strong obligation for the health and safety of your child. My daughter has always been an independent thinker and somewhat fearless. Before middle school, I enjoyed that God-like position in which she accepted my guidance. As we approached the teen years, the voices of her friends and peers held more sway. I could have a completely calm and rational conversation with my daughter in which she'd nod her head in agreement about not turning off the phone tracking app. Three days later, she'd be giving me an excuse about the app running down her phone battery, and so she turned it off. My conclusions were my own and she wasn't buying into them.
THREE. RESPECT IS THE OTHER PERSON'S TO GIVE, OR NOT
I grew up in a home and era when respect for authority (e.g., parents, teachers, law enforcement) was the social norm. I did not see myself as equal to these authority figures, and I expected swift and harsh punishment for defiant acts. Times have changed. I assumed that being a tough and yet caring and generous parent naturally earned my daughter's love and appreciation. I was greatly disappointed as her struggle with self-esteem and identity turned into an attack on me and my husband. These were the most trying two years of parenting that required professional counseling and guidance to navigate. Once we broke through our daughter's barrier to participating in family therapy, we learned to communicate with one another in a way that allowed mutual respect to re-emerge. I am so grateful for our decision to seek the help we needed.
FOUR. I AM NOT MY CHILD, AND SHE IS NOT ME
I'm not sure that Dads experience this the same as Moms, but I felt judged as a parent from the beginning. I saw my child's behavior as a direct reflection of my skills as a mother. If my child crossed a line she shouldn't have, I was responsible for her poor choice. There was a co-mingling of responsibility to teach and accountability for decisions at the heart of my parenting choices. I still remember when the therapist told me that my daughter would make her own decisions and that I couldn't control her. It was such a relief to have that burden of responsibility lifted. Additionally, I learned that I needed to let go of my self-imposed responsibilities to make everything right for her and the other members of my family. My definition of success as a mother was the biggest contributor to my own unhappiness; an extremely important lesson to learn.
I am a Gen-Xer. I entered a patriarchal work environment after college. Many of the assumptions and beliefs that tripped me up as a parent are the same assumptions and beliefs I have worked to change in every size organization. My daughter helped me see that the new parenting model is grounded in the principles of leadership. Luckily my younger daughter is reaping the benefits of my learning. So perhaps we will avoid the tumult of early high school with her.
If you feel like your workplace is a battleground between employees and management, perhaps these lessons will help you craft healthier relationships built upon respect and appreciation for one another. I can firmly say that the reward is worth the work!
A colleague recently responded to my blog this week and shared this opinion piece in the Washington Times 👉https://bit.ly/3gM6bDO. I am sharing my thoughts about this in the hopes of starting meaningful dialogue that ends opinions designed to silence an important movement happening now to finally embrace the equal rights amendment in body and soul.
Just a few thoughts about the Washington times opinion piece. The first and most important is that I don't have an issue with atheism and sincerely believe in the freedom of religion upon which our country was founded. Secondly, black and brown people are among the most active people of faith, especially Christianity, that I've met. I don't see a wholesale abandonment of this faith despite the ideology of the founders of #blacklivesmatter. Thirdly, revolution in the face of oppression has been necessary around the globe to bring about change and the US is no different. Revolution doesn't have to be anarchy, but it rarely occurs without violent clashing with the predominant authority. Lastly, I believe in and stand for American democracy and this is why I stand with my black and brown fellow humans who are not able to participate in democracy as equals to the whites. It is important in any revolution that we stand on guard against subversive agendas of those who wish to gain control for their own dominance. I think we must balance our duty to be on watch for this with our critical thinking about statements that are meant to drive fear and angst to keep the white supremacist status quo. I have come to realize that so many of us who are white and care about justice and equality have been unwitting co-conspirators to the white supremacist agenda because it is so cleverly veiled.
That was a big monologue. I really don't mean to be preachy. I'm working on how to give voice to my thinking in a way that invites meaningful dialogue with others. How did I do? What are your thoughts?
#blacklivesmatter is something I believe, but I've realized that action by me is required. One important step is getting educated about the disparate treatment of people with black and brown skin. Another is to get more connected with communities of color to offer my allyship and shift my world view from the insular white experience I know.
Recently my husband was away for the weekend, and I was free to watch whatever caught my eye on Netflix. I stumbled upon a documentary about Queen touring with Adam Lambert as lead singer. I loved the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody. I have never seen Queen perform live and was excited to see concert footage of the band.
As I watched, a contrast struck me. Bohemian Rhapsody focused on Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant and visionary front-man. The documentary, however, picks up the story after Freddie's death. The remaining band members tell the story of various attempts to answer their fan's desires for concerts without an artist with Freddie's vocal breadth. In both, however, Brian May is portrayed as the influential collaborator and steadying voice that quietly propels Queen's success across the years.
Brian May is a talented musician in his own right. Select any of Queen's many hits, and you will witness his incredible gift as the band's lead guitarist. His guitar solos are poignant moments. He could have pursued other opportunities with other artists, and yet he chose Queen over and over. In the documentary, he describes the uniqueness of the band's synergy and recognizes that he can't assume that he can replicate that anywhere he wants. It is his commitment to honor and cultivate their synergy that has kept the music of Queen alive for so many decades.
As I reflected on my business a few days later, I realized that I prefer the Brian May role to the Freddie Mercury role. I have talent and expertise that I love to share with others. Just like Brian, I can enjoy a moment on stage in the spotlight where I get to shine, but I don't want to stay there. Instead, I like to be that consistent support whose impact is experienced as strongly behind the scenes as on the stage. I don't seek public praise and admiration, although I am firmly committed to the person's or team's success in every collaboration.
When I look around my industry, I see prominent personalities with international name recognition. They write books and run public seminars that sell out around the world. In the past, this has caused me to question whether I needed bigger aspirations. After seeing Brian May in the documentary, however, I realize that I am right where I want to be.
Not all of us want fame and fortune. We don't seek the tough trade-offs that come with celebrity. Not wanting these things does not diminish our talent or genius. Wanting to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and watching it nurture and grow has immense value. And, it is essential to acknowledge that value in ourselves and others.
I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on the role you are choosing to play. Here are a few questions to contemplate.
ONE. Are you authentic to who you want to be? Have social media and advertisements to help you build a six-figure business created an internal crisis in which you question your definition of success?
TWO. Do you want to be a lead singer or are you happy being a valuable member of the band?
THREE. If you manage people, do you value those who want to be lead singers over those who don't? What would happen if you exclusively hired people who wanted to be lead singers?
FOUR. Do you know who the Brian May people are in your life? And, have you taken a moment to appreciate the value they bring to you and your business?
As with bands, in business, those with lead singer personalities are the most visible. However, their success is interdependent. Recognizing the quiet contributors and working on the group's cohesion is required to maintain peak collaboration and results. As the music of Queen shows, when synergy is present, magic happens that can transcend the decades.