One of the great responsibilities of a leader is removing obstacles. It is your job to make the work environment conducive for the business to move towards growth and success. Yet doing so can be very hard and daunting. It takes you to not only consider your work but yourself as well. Ken gives a rundown on the obstacles that you might be facing such as your sacred cow, bad people, ignorance, and staleness. Equip yourself with the tools to realize how to overcome them and sweep the obstacles for a better runway to success.
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This is the blog where we talk about growth nuggets that, in and of themselves, might not make or break any company, but when you stack these nuggets one on top of another, they can definitely not only form a pattern but create a foundation that companies can live on. This is episode 240 and it’s about removing obstacles. Some companies are one person, some companies are 100,000 or a million people. As a leader, if you’re one person or a manager of many, one of your main jobs is to remove obstacles. I’m in that phase right now. My wife is in that phase right now. We are both diligently digging in with every pick, shovel, ax, drill, and tool we have in our arsenal. We are drilling into our company to find out if we can expose pieces and/or obstacles that we can remove.Start over and give yourself a clean slate. Click To Tweet
Let’s say it’s just you. You’re a one-person shop and you started something six months ago. What obstacles could you possibly remove to help your company grow? It’s just you, you’re not going to remove you. Number one, you could remove your sacred cow. Let’s say you’re a traditionalist, you’re a nine-to-fiver. Do you at any point 9 to 5 open Facebook? Maybe you’re not a traditionalist, you’re not a nine-to-fiver. You work 7:00 AM to midnight, you don’t work eight hours in a row, but you do get your eight to ten hours in throughout the day. Do you ever find pockets of that day where you’re justifying you need to replenish ATP, which is the energy your brain runs off of, so you can take a break and read Facebook or watch a TV show or go fishing?
A sacred cow is anything done on a consistent basis in which you know when you’re doing it, you’re justifying time off of work. You know when you do it that had you not done this for six to twelve months, that amount of time and energy added to your business would have provided tremendous growth. The first obstacle you can remove, whether you’re a big company or small company, is your personal sacred cow. What if you’re a leader of people? What if you teach your team this concept? Find out that if you can have a contest, who would be willing to admit they have a sacred cow? Track the time they’re spending, remove it, and put a fourth of that time back into the company and see if you can get an award or a prize for the biggest gap closer. I’ve done that one before.
What if you’re a one-man shop, one-woman shop and you got a crappy phone? Not to be ridiculous, but I know some seniors that still have a flip phone even though they run a company doing over a million a year. They’re too cheap to get a newer phone. What they’re saying is, “I don’t want to study these apps. I just want to dial the phone.” How about bad partners? What if you are a one-person company, but you’ve got bad affiliates, bad vendors, and people that are negative? How about get rid of them, start over, and give yourself a clean slate?
First thing I would do if I ran a team is I would ask your core people and have them ask their core people, “If I could remove any single obstacle in your way from better production, what would it be?” You better have paper and pen ready. It could be, “You could get us a working computer. I don’t know if you realize that station number three hasn’t worked in nine months.” “You could get us iPads that actually work, meaning they have a cell signal, so when the Wi-Fi goes out, we’re not down when the Wi-Fi is down three times a week.” We had that one in the past. It’s not always going to be physical. Luckily, this is not always inside our company, but it is when we’re consulting other companies you will get, if you could remove one obstacle, “Her name is Sally.” It usually comes like that, “His name is John.” “Can you please get rid of this negative Nelly that is in the office? They’re driving everybody crazy.” You will not know until you ask.
How about this, what obstacle could be removed? How about the obstacle of ignorance? When’s the last time you, as a leader, sent yourself to a leadership camp? When’s the last time you read a leadership book? When’s the last time you sent your core people to a higher education like CEO or COO camp? What if they’re not even in management? Still, send them to those camps to get them to understand the vernacular. When is the last time you looked at the people doing the meaningful work or the bulk of your business and further educated them or brought in consultants in to do weekly education? That’s a killer obstacle you can remove. How about removing the obstacle of staleness? When’s the last time you brought in fresh blood? Somebody 28 and younger, sharp as a whip with technology, fresh to the industry, and has less than two years’ experience in the industry.Start sweeping up the obstacles and pave a clearer runway for production. Click To Tweet
I’m thinking of my cousin Donny. He’s 42, but he works in a mega-company, works in a different state. He’s the youngest person in his division by 25 years. Donny, who was blowing the numbers out at that company, was the fresh blood. At some point, the seniors that are running things, they’re going to be gone. Donny will then be the senior and they got to be on the lookout for fresh blood. When was the last time you took a look at your own business? How about just bringing interns? We have seven interns in the office right now. How about bringing in some fresh blood? Then finally ask your people what the obstacles are. Here’s how you ask them. “If you were the owner for a day and you had an unlimited budget, what number one change would you make? What obstacle would you remove? What would you do different?” Get out your notebook paper.” Episode 240, Removing Obstacles. Get out your broom, start sweeping up the obstacles, and clear a runway for production.