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Top Five Reasons You Could Fail to Build a Great Leadership Team

Written by Ed Callahan on August 16, 2012

Implementers EOS

Ken DeWitt is a fellow EOS Implementer in the great state of Alabama. He has graciously allowed me to post an excerpt of an article he published recently in his newsletter.

Ken wrote about the “Top Five Reasons You Could Fail to Build a Great Leadership Team” and in the process, a stable, growing, healthy business. So here, in David Letterman “countdown” style, are his five reasons.

Reason #5 – You LIKE being an octopus.
Many business owners, as well as department managers (Sales/Marketing, Operations or Finance leaders), find themselves at the center of their business or department with all the rest of the employees spinning around them, reporting in frequently, asking questions, bringing them problems. Even if they have 25 to 50 employees, most will call on this owner/manager at some point during the week and he or she will respond — and he’s trained them to do it. It’s like the owner/manager is using his eight arms as an octopus, grabbing and touching all the problems in the business. Some actually end up liking this frenetic pace and pride themselves on this skill. But take the octopus out of the business, and it will soon fail. Vacations become difficult; sickness is a disaster. It’s better to have an operating system that disperses the responsibility and accountability.

Reason #4 – You are a Perfect-a-holic.
By comparing this ailment to alcoholism, I’m trying to elevate it to a level that merits serious study and effort in recovery. Perfectionism is truly an impossible standard. And learning to accept the “20/80 Rule”, that 20% of the initial effort toward something yields 80% of the benefit, is an important realization. If afflicted by this disease, the first step is admitting it and desiring a cure.

Reason #3 – You can’t imagine having a work-life balance.
Quite simply, many of us have done things one way for so long, we come to believe it is the only way. I’m here to tell you that this is simply not true, nor necessary to believe in the future. It may be true that 90% of business owners are frustrated by a lack of control, their lack of profit or cash flow, by people, by hitting the ceiling, or that they’re trying lots of stuff and none of it has worked yet. But here’s the ultimate discovery: 10% of entrepreneurs are NOT frustrated; they DO have a work-life balance. And you can, too, if you want it enough and are willing to do new things to get a different result.

Reason #2 – I can’t find “good people”.
This is a variation on perfect-a-holism, but is slightly different. We want perfect employees. Hey — I’m sorry to tell you that they don’t exist. Many really good employees get so frustrated that they are actually run off by their bosses, and the entrepreneur ends up with other employees that seem to constantly confirm this mistaken belief. So, the entrepreneur attempts to split his own time and fills many of the key jobs in the business rather than working to build a leadership team, and in doing so, he does a disservice to his investors AND his family.

Reason #1 – You’re afraid to let go of the vine.
The number one reason people fail to implement EOS or some other consistent operating system? Simply put, it is fear. It is scary to admit our vulnerabilities and our shortcomings, and even scarier to actually take action to overcome them.

One of the simple discoveries revealed by implementing EOS is that entrepreneurs do not perform well in all the positions they attempt to fill.

The solution is to give someone the Sales/Marketing seat, someone the Operations Management seat, and someone the Finance seat. Still, it is scary to turn such important functions over to another person and trust them — and past failures at these attempts make it doubly hard to try it again.

The Solution

But there is a key to overcoming these five failures: running your business on one operating system that stays on top of the accountability flow inside the business and leverages the talents of a great leadership team.

If you wish to grow a business and build a work-life balance for yourself, you’ll need to pick an operating system. I’m prejudiced – I think it’s EOS. But I don’t really care which you pick. Just pick one.


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