Discipline can be a lifeboat for entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurs and corporate leaders experience rapid success, caution should be used to navigate through rocky waters that have the potential to sink your ship.

Think about it. You’ve launched your new product. The sales charts show an upward trajectory that your team has coveted. Growth is dramatic, and it’s all your team can do to meet increasing demand for your products and services.

As leader you have become a Jack-of-All-Trades and a consummate juggler. There’s never enough time. Your employees are stretched to the point that they’re barely keeping their heads above water. Your team feels like it’s drowning in its own success.

Put in the processes

It is at this point in the entrepreneur’s journey that critical business processes are vital. The action (or inaction) of the entrepreneurial leader to implement basic business discipline may lead to the ultimate success or demise of the beloved organization.

Entrepreneurial leaders would be wise to implement a handful of business concepts from the organization’s inception. These business practices are prevalent in management courses. They make sense on paper.

Yet to an entrepreneur who may get caught up in the adrenaline rush of success or the “busyness of the business,” these simple disciplines may sound boring or unnecessary. “We don’t have time for that” or “We’ll get to that later” may be the very words that some entrepreneurs will live to regret.

Accountability, alignment, acknowledgement

I have long been a proponent of Triple A Leadership as critical “must haves” for sustainable organizational success. Triple A Leadership includes Accountability, Alignment and Acknowledgement.

Accountability: One of the most important things a leader can do is to be crystal clear with employees about expectations. Employees can only be held accountable for achieving the right results when they definitively know what is expected of them.
Failure by leaders to define goals clearly is like asking a blindfolded person to hit a target.

Alignment: Employees need a direct line of sight between what they do every day and how their efforts contribute to the organization’s success. When the team’s actions are aligned with organizational goals, the probability of success can increase dramatically.

Acknowledgement: Employees need and deserve feedback in a predictable manner. They want to know how they’re doing in supporting the organization’s success. “In the moment” recognition and properly conducted performance conversations are vital for employees to understand what they are doing correctly or how they can be even more effective.

The key is to assure that performance conversations are relevant and meaningful for each individual and that feedback for every employee reinforces the actions required to achieve the right results.

Properly conducted performance conversations can contribute to phenomenal individual and organizational performance. If not implemented correctly, performance conversations can be no more than an exercise in futility.

 

 

Leaders who practice Triple A Leadership can achieve sustainable organizational success through highly motivated teams that produce optimal results consistently. Through implementing these simple, yet vital business disciplines early on, Triple A leadership just might become the lifeboat of your entrepreneurial future.

 

Janet Meeks is the Co-founder and CEO of Healthcare Alignment Advisors LLC. With 38 years of experience in finance and health care along with extensive service in the boardroom, Janet Meeks is a sought-after adviser to CEOs and other C-suite executives across a variety of industries. She is also the author of the book “Gracious Leadership: Lead Like You’ve Never Led Before,” to be released in early 2018.