As your Business grows, your role changes rapidly. Most businesses fail to scale up because the founder never learnt how to adapt his / her role to the changing needs of the growing business and ends up becoming a bottleneck in the growth of the very business that (s)he is committed to grow.
A business has 5 distinct stages and the founder CEO has to re-invent herself / himself at each stage. The re-invention required is so dramatic that if not consciously planned for, gets invariably missed out. Unfortunately, the Founder CEO looks at the wrong questions to solve for as (s)he is looking to grow her / his business.
Examples of wrong questions are:
a. How do I increase profitability?
b. How do I get more customers?
c. How do I hire fast enough to manage the growth?
Such questions indicate that the torchlight is turned outwards. Powerful solutions do not get created with an outward focus.
To leave the corridors of mediocrity to occupy the throne of market dominance, the right questions would look like as below for each question in the list above, respectively:
a. How can we make a massive difference to our existing clients? What are their needs that are not being served by anyone in our industry so far? How can we build even more trust in our relationship with our clients?
b. How can we give such enormous value to our target customer community that they queue outside our office to become our customers; instead of us queuing outside the customer’s office to get them to become our customer? How do I and my team get more committed to my clients’ business growth than to selling our products and services to them? How do we make such huge difference to our customers that they take over the role of sales and marketing for us?
c. How do I grow my people to manage our business growth?
Answers to these questions move you in the right direction to help you and your team discover powerful, effective, creative, innovative solutions to create your blue ocean.
Questions that are One-Level Deeper
After asking the Right Questions, as above, by turning the torchlight inwards; the next right step is to increase the intensity of the torchlight by asking deeper level questions as below, respectively:
a. What do I need to do to build a culture of Being of Service to our customer community?
A super successful serial entrepreneur I spoke to last year told me that they never set profitability goals. That they grew by 30% is more an observation than some goal they set out at the beginning of the year. In the same breath, he also observed that the structure of the company is such that it serves the employees first. The jobs are structured such that their lives are compatible with their roles, rather than forcing it the other way around.
b. How do we engage deeply with our customers so that we really understand them?
Another highly successful professional CEO of a large international Bank told me that he gets his team to regularly call up the customers for informal conversations.
c. Where do I need to grow the most to create the space for my people to grow?
An observation I have about authentically successful leaders is that they have no desire to dominate or any need for external power, whatsoever. They are constantly looking at the mirror, taking responsibility for any mess-up and giving away credit for any progress made or success achieved. They have a space that has people feel whole, complete and perfect; and inspires them to unleash their inner genius. It is never so much as who do I hire, as much as who do I be that people give not only their mind, but also their heart and soul to the jobs that they do.
Answering the questions which are one-level deeper grow your business with even greater velocity as you find clarity, direction and inner power to lead your business from good to great.
With the above context, it is now easier to answer the question that we started this conversation with - How to Let Go and Delegate as your Business Scales?
Going one level deeper, the real questions then become:
1. Why am I not able to let go?
2. What are my fears that are stopping me to delegate?
3. How do I grow so that I create the space for my team to become better than me?
4. What is the experience that I leave my team with? Do they feel respect for themselves, for me and for each other in my space?
5. What is the impact I want to create through my business and what kind of culture do I need to nurture for me to be able to create that?
And, of course, if you know me well enough, that’s where I leave you - with even more questions than you started out with me because I contribute to you not by giving you answers to your questions but by leading you to even more powerful questions.
Though, before we end today’s conversation, here are the 5 distinct stages in the life-cycle of a business and what re-invention is demanded of you at each stage, incase you got curious about it. I call the stages Mountains because that is symbolic of the experience a business owner / CEO goes through from stage to stage - as if flying from one mountain top to another. And, if the flight is not powerful enough, finding themselves crashing right to the bottom in the valley between the two mountains.
Mountain 1 - Mountain of Purpose - On this mountain, you are fired up with purpose, passion and the intense burning desire to make a dent in the Universe. Your business idea fires you up, is the cause that touches, moves and inspires you.
Mountain 2 - Mountain of Value - On this mountain, you marry your passion and purpose to what’s missing in the world for the customer community that inspires you to make a difference to. You iterate to find your Blue Ocean. Making a difference, making an impact, being of service to your customer community is what now fuels you.
Mountain 3 - Mountain of Growth - On this mountain, you continue iterating till you find your repeatable, scalable, profitable business model. On this mountain, your cause becomes bigger than you and you inspire others to get lit-up with the cause that you and your business stand for.
Mountain 4 - Mountain of Scale - On this mountain, you grow so much in leadership depth that your people experience themselves as whole, complete and perfect in your space; and engage with their work with not only their mind but also with their heart and soul. Only when employees are engaged this deeply in their work that a business can truly scale in a sustainable manner.
Mountain 5 - Mountain of Mastery - On this mountain, you have mastered yourself. You lead your business to become a steady-state corporate and have put in place a leadership team to succeed you and create business outcomes even more powerfully than you did. To have created a team better than yourself gives you a sense of accomplishment. You have successfully made yourself redundant and it gives you great fulfilment at having transformed your business to become a self-sustaining engine of growth, making an impact in the world and creating passive income for you.
Wishing you the joy of the journey to come home to yourself because as you fly from Mountain 1 to Mountain 5, you grow deeper and deeper to come home to yourself. That's what makes this journey worthwhile.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.