Leadership Question: Stay Focused Or Grow?
Not only is this a great question from Kent, but it’s something that I, and so many others, have struggled with. As an entrepreneur, you want to accomplish as much as you possibly can. There’s a voice inside of you that constantly wants to grow and build more of what you already have. We believe if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
The problem is, many of us have a tendency to get something rolling and then jump to the next shiny thing. If you’re not careful, you’ll pull energy, talent and resources away from the thing that was working to try to grow elsewhere.
Questions to ask are:
- Is the original profit center profitable? If so, by how much?
- Has it hit its capacity? If not, what does that look like?
- Do I have someone strong enough to run it? If so, what’s their capacity?
I think you have to make sure that you have a champion in place and growing what you currently have before you begin to look at other options. Once you have someone who is successful at growing the current profit center, coming up with strategies for future growth, and handling problems successfully,,then I think you can begin to focus on other profit centers.
Keep in mind that you are generating a lot of the energy that’s part of the current process, so you can’t pull away completely. You will have to be even more intentional to be a part of it going forward.
As for the new profit center, as you get that up and going, I suggest you find a champion to run that as well. Someone you will mentor along the way but will eventually take control of it. The best way to grow those leaders is to pay them, and only them, off the bottom line. This will gives them ownership, and they will watch both the top and bottom lines.
As you add individual profit centers, it becomes considerably more important to intentionally lead the profit center leaders. You must find time to make sure they have all they need to be successful. Champions in a position like that may have a tendency not to share everything because they want to show how successful they can be. So be sure to dig deep and hold them accountable.
Also, don’t stop leading at the top. You must make your way into the teams to see what’s happening on the front lines. Sam Walton used to jump in a truck leaving the distribution center and ride with the driver to the store. Along the way he would ask the driver to tell him everything that was going on from his point of view. When he reached the store, he wouldn’t talk with the managers until last. He went through the dock workers and the cashiers and the stockers to see what was going on. Then he talked to management.
While you must set up a level of leadership that you trust, you also have to realize that any point of view from one person is just that, one person’s point of view.
Question: Have you ever seen someone being to spread out in their business?