Seven Steps on Leading
Answer in paragraph form:
Decide the most important leadership priorities for you. Add them to your own job description.
Steve’s new Ironhorse Granola business was really growing with a new chef, operations manager and sales rep joining. Then, the bottom fell out. The regional mountain bike retail chain cancelled their orders because the new buyer didn’t want to sell perishable food products. Steve and the team were really bummed.
Steve immediately called company meeting to discuss options. Steve explained what happened and how the bike chain represented 40% of sales. He was honest about how dire the situation is but he still felt that their granola was the best. They just needed to put it in the right places to sell. Steve said this setback is just like crashing in a mountain bike race, having to dust yourself off and get back in the race.
After a brainstorming session, everyone agreed that each employee had to go out and sell product to all retail bike stores within a 3 hour drive. The sales rep suggested that the company sell product online even if it may upset current retailers. Also, the rep suggested that they sell to a local organic grocery chain. Previously, Steve had shot down both those ideas. But reality had changed. The team agreed that they should move forward on both initiatives. While time will tell if this plan will work, the whole team was focused on a clear plan.
Mike ran a successful landscape design and lawn care business. But there was a bump in the road. His partner Joe was supposed to service a yard and add new bushes to a customer on a Friday. Apparently, there was a miscommunication and the customer called absolutely livid on Friday night. She explained that they were hosting an open house for the public at 11am on Saturday.
Mike immediately contacted Joe. They avoided talking about who to blame and focused on a plan to get the work done. Mike pulled some favors with friends to get up early the next morning to service the yard from 7-10am. When Joe and the help arrived, they saw Mike planting new bushes and flowers beyond what the customer requested. Later, Joe overheard Mike insisting to the customer that this servicing was free because of the miscommunication.
It was clear that the customer was pleased. The next week, Mike got several calls from new customers that had attended the open house and heard how great their service was.
Greg and Pete had a consulting business where their computer programs used an algorithm to forecast wheat prices. They were able to cover their expenses and pay a modest salary for themselves. They had just started a riskier project where they would raise a fund to invest in wheat futures. The business had hired recent statistics and agronomists PhD graduates to help. After six months, there were no firm commitments for the fund.
Greg and Pete pulled the whole team together to discuss the situation. They would have to cut their salaries and lay off employees if they could not find more income. Every option would be discussed.
A Chinese employee brought up how he had been asked by several Hong Kong hedge funds to develop a trading algorithm to trade in smaller commodity markets like rare earth and rubber. There were fewer sophisticated traders in these markets. Greg had nixed this idea several months ago, but he felt that they needed to consider new opportunities even though it was out of his comfort zone.
FAQ & Resources
What if I have never led before?
Don’t worry, the only way to get better at leading is to lead. Have a clear plan, show passion and follow the steps above. Be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.