329 | The Leadership Habit Limiting Your Team’s Potential

“We don’t rise to the occasion, we perform to the level of our preparation.”

I’m assuming that no leader reading this has a desire to limit their team…But if our leadership habits go unchecked, they become bottlenecks and keep teams and businesses from growing.

Here’s how to avoid one of the most common leadership bottlenecks:


Take the Leadership Crazy Cycle Assessment

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Continue scrolling for the full transcript:

Chris LoCurto: Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.

Leaders, something I want you to realize, your team or organization is only going to grow to the level of you. It’s leader. Now, whether it’s a huge team or a small business, it does not matter. Over the next three weeks, we’re introducing three different ways leaders become bottlenecks. Now I’m assuming that no leader listening to the show has a desire to limit what their team our business could become. So we’re talking about the bottlenecks that keep businesses from growing and it all comes down to one thing. What is that thing? Leadership. So folks, today we’re going to talk about a bottleneck that you may not even think is a bottleneck. It might even have helped you in a tight spot. Or for some of us, we think it’s better than not doing anything at all. And that is: shooting from the hip ,being unprepared. Now my goal is this for you to lead at a much higher level of leading than you are right now.

And in order to rise to that level, you must understand what is beneficial in some situations is what can actually hurt you in the long run. So we’re talking about the effects of shooting from the hip when it becomes your process. I am not saying that you never shoot from the hip. Do not hear me say that every single time you shoot from the hip, it’s a problem. That is not what I’m saying. I’ve shot from the hip many times in my life. But the difference is I also spend a lot of time making calculated decisions. I take calculated risks. So as I’m talking about this, I’m talking about it as it becomes your process. Constantly shooting from the hip, constantly shooting from the hip. You just go throughout your day and whenever something comes up, you just, you know, here’s the decision on that.

Here’s how we solve that. Here’s how we do that in. Everything becomes that as a process. So the problem is is that we don’t rise to the occasion. We perform to the level of our preparation. Let me say that again. We don’t rise to the occasion, we perform to the level of our preparation. Performing to the level of our un-preparation is a serious bottleneck that keeps teams and businesses from growing. Now, I’ll never forget, there was a time we did an event. We took a bunch of our leadership over there and Peyton manning was speaking and one of our guys on our team actually went over to him and said, hey man, you are always just smooth as can be on a football field, but you’re about to go step out on a stage in front of 12,000 people. Are you nervous? Peyton Manning looked at our guy dead in the eyes and goes, “only the unprepared get nervous.”

Just a profound, profound statement. So what we’re talking about today is not using shooting from the hip as a way of life, but instead being able to perform to your level of preparation. We’re going to talk more about that right after you hear about next level life, our two day one on one personal discovery experience that will truly change your life. Next level life is our two day personal discovery experience. It’s a one on one personalized event where we guide you through a process to help you discover your root system, to get unstuck in life and to discover what’s holding you back from freedom and peace. Imagine this, what if you could wake up every morning with a clear purpose? What would it look like to have healthier relationships with less conflict? Where would you be in a few months, a year, five years, if you had clarity, purpose, and peace?

Probably a big difference from where you stand today. Now I know it’s possible because I’ve been where you are asking myself, is there more? There is and there is a better way and it starts with next level life. You can go to ChrisLoCurto.com/discover to take the next step. Now, if you’re struggling with this contentment, regret, or not feeling good enough, which most of you are, if you’re filled with anxiety or your relationships are lacking, don’t keep going through the same motions every single day. Learn how to move past the things robbing you of peace. Go to ChrisLoCurto.com/discover and take the next step. So folks, here’s the issue.

No one’s as good as they want to think they are. Ouch, right? We all want to think that we are amazing. We all want to think that we are really good at stuff. That’s not everybody.

A lot of us actually self sabotage and think that we’re not worth anything. But for a lot of leaders, many times we think that we can shoot from the hip and solve problems inside of our business as a way of life. When it works, it’s fantastic. When it becomes a habit, it becomes a bad habit. Let me give you a great illustration on this. Think about the time that you’ve hired that one person. You know, when you did like a couple of interviews or you know, you didn’t do much and you hired this person and they came onboard and they were phenomenal and they did an incredible job. They worked out really well and you’re like, I am good, I am good at this HR thing, I can do this hiring process really well, and then you hire the next three people and they suck and you start saying what is wrong with all the people?

Instead of actually stopping and taking a look and going, hey, actually didn’t do a really great hiring process on the one person that did that came on the team and did really well and I’ve carried that process. The good thing was that person was just actually really good, so maybe it’s the hiring process. I thought it was great, but maybe I’m not so good at that. You know, it worked once, had an incredible result. You think you’re amazing at hiring, but in reality we failed to prepare to have a great hiring process. Then the next three coming in the door, since we still do not have a great hiring process, ended up to be bad hires. Whose fault is that? What is the reason it’s actually performing to the level of preparation? What was the level of preparation? Hey, I didn’t put much into it.

I did it well and got somebody great. I just keep doing the same thing and unfortunately it doesn’t work. A couple of ways you hurt your leadership and the team by lack of preparation. One big way. Meetings. Oh my gosh. Meetings folks. There are so many businesses that are losing so much salary on crappy meetings. There are so many team members that lose morale because they’re going into a meeting and going, I know the thing is going to be a waste of time. I could totally be focusing on something that’s going to make the company money. And instead I’m going to go sit in this meeting and it’s not going to be that good. Nobody’s going to be prepared. Nobody’s going to have the information. Nobody’s going to care about my opinion in this… Meetings done without preparation are incredibly less effective.

Now, listen, I’ve been there. I used to do that decades ago where I would just go, hey, get everybody in the conference room. We need to talk about something. And I go in there and I share my thing and everybody’s looking at me. You know, you’re hearing the crickets in the background. Nobody’s had any time to prepare. Nobody knows what I want from them. Nobody understands the the thing that I’m talking about because I probably haven’t explained it very well. And then I walk out going, well, we’ll have to have another meeting and really dig into this, so let’s waste more time. Shooting from the hip, especially when it comes from meetings can cause you a lot of money. I’m not saying that you’ve not had that one or two meetings in your lifetime where you shot from the hip, pulled people into a conference room and it went really well.

What I’m saying is is that we have a tendency, we see this all the time. Leaders have a tendency to actually run their meeting process that way, you know, I want to talk with people, get people in there. You spend more time correcting what wasn’t prepared for beforehand and what you’re doing by that is you’re giving your team permission to step into things un-prepared as well. So think about it. What are you modeling to the rest of your team? What you’re modeling is: You don’t have to be prepared. In fact, I want you to run your meetings that way, so you run your meetings shooting from the hip. Guess what? Everybody else is gonna do the same thing. It becomes DNA inside of your business. It becomes a process that everybody follows. When you look at bad leadership, so if you take a look at yourself and you go, you know what?

There have been times I just stunk at my leadership. I always want to ask one question, what were the leaders like before you, were they great? By definition of what a great leader is would you say they were great? No. Were they good? Maybe because here’s the deal. If the leaders that came before you that you worked for were great leaders and you’re not, we have a problem. Houston, we’ve got something we need to solve right now. Because that means that something kept you stubborn, prideful, obstinate, whatever, so that you didn’t learn right? If they were great leaders, what was wrong with you? What we usually find out is that people aren’t the just crazy stubborn obstinant, the “had great leaders” and I was unwilling to learn. What we find is people come from bad leadership. So when we’re looking at the leadership things that they want to fix or the things that they want to grow in their life and their leadership, what we discover is it’s been trained.

They learned it from somebody else. They watched somebody else do it. So think about this for a second. What is the permission that you’re giving your team when you choose not to prepare? Literally that, hey guys, you don’t need to be prepared. You don’t have to come into meetings with information. You don’t have to share stuff. So understand if you’re shooting from the hip, they’re going to start shooting from the hip. Next thing is the personal, the emotional effects. When you shoot from the hip, what it does is it creates a lot of stress and anxiety. “We just took a left hand turn and I don’t know why we have got this information that I can’t figure out.”

So you may be causing a lot of personal stress and anxiety on the team members because you keep shooting from the hip. Now let’s just take a look at you for a second. How many times do you not prepare for something and it causes you problems? You have to fix things 17 different ways, right? And in your mind it’s like, wow, okay, I made the decision. You know, there’s, there’s old, old sayings that we tend to follow. One of those being just do something. It doesn’t matter if the decision is right or wrong, just go ahead and do something. Make a decision. Well, okay, unfortunately that’s lacking information. Have you prepared? How are you taking a calculated risk? Do you have great perspective? If you’ve done those things, yeah, make a decision. But unfortunately, so many of us use that again as a way of life.

I just need to make a decision. Just do it. Just pull the trigger. Just go. And unfortunately it creates a ton of stress and anxiety for other people that are probably having to clean up the mess or probably having to do double the work because they were already busy in the first place and now they’ve got to do this to. Another thing I want you to think about. There’s a phrase that I cannot stand, do it and ask for forgiveness later. Guys, what that concept is is, go do you go shoot from the hip. Go make your decisions. Don’t plan it. Don’t prepare it. Don’t ask for permission. Don’t find out if there’s a better way to do it. Don’t find out if there’s an easier way to do it. Go do it and ask for forgiveness later. What’s the need to ask for forgiveness later?

It’s that you did something wrong. You did something bad. What is the stress and anxiety that’s going onto the other folks because you only think about you or you’re shooting from the hip? You’re affecting your team. Leaders. Listen to me. You’re affecting your team. The question is, do you care enough to see it in the team? If you don’t because you’re afraid that that means you’re not going to be able to shoot from the hip anymore then you may not be looking at it. You may not be focusing on that. So think of how this affects other team members. Think of how it affects family members. Think of how it affects your spouse. Also, take a look at the lack of confidence it causes in leadership. When you shoot from the hip, when you’re not prepared as a leader, everybody else has to clean up your mess or everybody has to shift and turn right because you said shift and turn right and they don’t know what’s going on because they’re not prepared.

You’re not prepared. Nobody’s prepared. It takes 10 times the amount of time to do the thing because we didn’t, you know, sharpen the ax before we started cutting down the tree. All of those things because team members to look at you and lose confidence in your leadership. Why? Because guess what they’re thinking. At any moment, Sarah is going to make me go in a direction that I know I’m not going to be prepared for it, she won’t be prepared for and it’s just going to be a cluster. So in this process, not only are you hurting causing stress anxiety, but you’re also causing a lack of confidence in your leadership. Now, why aren’t leaders prepared? Why do we shoot from the hip? We shoot from the hip because we haven’t established a habit of preparation. Let me say that again. We haven’t established a habit of preparation.

So we’re going to talk about three new ways to have a habit of preparation and create margin this week. So your weekly action steps, the first thing we’re going to do is reign in your time. One of the first places to start is take a look at the meetings that you’re having. A one thing you can do that will make things a lot easier. Start having your meetings and other people’s offices go to them. Why? It’s easier to leave. It saves you time. If you need to cut the meeting short. You can do that in your office. But here’s the funny thing that we discover. If we go somewhere else and we’re the leader and we need to cut that meeting short, we’ll actually cut it short. When it’s in your office, you’re comfortable, you will go a lot longer in your meetings.

Take a look at how you can reign in meeting times, meetings that you’re being a part of. Are the things that we’re discussing necessary? There’s many times where I’ll be in a meeting and somebody will take a rabbit trail and I’ll stop and I’ll go, guys, question for you. Perspective gathering question, do we need to be talking about that right now? And people will stop and think and process and go, “no, that actually doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re doing.” Great. I just saved us five minutes. Let’s get back on to, you know, obviously you don’t say that in the meeting, but let’s get back onto the things that we are supposed to be focused on. So find ways to cut meetings. I’m not talking about cutting out good quality, important information. I’m talking about reign in the time. If your meetings are running long because they’re not being very effective, make them more effective.

If your meetings are running long because you’re comfortable and you’re not moving things along in your allowing 17 rabbit trails, reign that stuff in. Limit the length of your appointments. Never just have a start time. Always have an end time. So many times we can set appointments and I do not have a problem with you getting into a meeting and having a short chit chat time of somebody you may not have seen in a week. Barbara, how are you? It’s good to see you. How’s the husband? Great. Let’s move on to, let’s get onto the stuff we need to talk about today. Hit the information, but cut the length of the time if possible. Let’s start looking at how much time you’re spending in meetings and appointments and things that are stretching out your day and leaving you no margin. So start looking at where you can.

Again, do not hear me say, cut out effective stuff, cut out things you need, cut out stuff that’s going to make something successful. What I am saying is take a look at the areas that you’re not, that you have extra time and you’re not being effective. Let’s cut those parts out. Number two, you need to recognize how to reverse engineer your processes. So when we talk about walking into a meeting, take a look at every meeting and every situation that you’re walking into and understand what you need to walk out with. Don’t go into meetings not knowing what the expected outcome already is. What is the thing you need to leave with? What am I doing? What’s the level of importance? What’s my goal or end result? Make sure that you’re looking at how you should be walking away from that meeting.

Who should be doing what? Who should be bringing input to the meeting? Who should be speaking up? What kind of ideas do you want? Uh, how do you keep rabbit trails from happening? Make sure every single time before you walk in, you already know this outcome. If other people need information, get it to them. Prepare accordingly. Who needs to be in the meeting? What do you need to bring to the table? Again, what does your team need to bring to the table? If you need them to bring information, charts, financials, graphics, whatever it is, make sure that they’ve got that ahead of time so that we’re not having to stop so that somebody can run back to their desk, get something and bring it back. Set them up accordingly. How much time needs to be allocated for the discussion? Prepare all of that accordingly.

So don’t just look at a meeting and assume, reverse engineer. If this is what I’m wanting to walk away from the meeting with, if these are my expectations of who’s going to do what, when they leave, whatever those pieces are back into it, what needs to be brought in, who needs to be there, and how much stuff needs to be prepared ahead of time. You know, all of that stuff. Do that and then set the meeting, communicate the meeting. Make sure people hear it. Number three, create a habit of preparation. One of the big things people make mistakes on all the time when it comes to planning is we have no problem putting drop dead dates, you know, deadlines, timelines. This needs to be done by August 23rd and it’s now May and we put that data in there.

We know, okay, subconsciously I know I’ve got to get that done by the, you know, almost the end of August. What we tend to do is we operate off of the due dates. We do not operate off of start times. We do not take a hard look at how much stuff is on our plate. We do not figure out how much time it’s going to take to do the thing that’s due by August 23rd. Instead, we focus on that being the timeframe and then we get really close to August 23rd and we go ballistic to get the thing done. What we realize around August 15th is the 700 other things that are on our plate at the same time that are all important. We have done it. Again. We have been here a thousand times in the past. You have to have planning triggers. One of the most important things for me is being able to set timelines, block the timelines.

So if you have multiple projects or multiple things you’re going to be working on, overlay the timelines, take a look at how much effort it’s going to take to accomplish all the projects or things that you’re a part of. Plus all the tasks that you do in a normal day. So if you’ve got a lot going on, you don’t want to wait til August 15th to do this project, may need to start this thing in July at least pieces of it. So if you can block timelines on your calendar, then you can start to see how much effort you’re going to be putting into projects. So once we get around to this one, how busy you’re going to be. Again, put start times on that. Make sure that you’re communicating across teams. Big Mistake. Another big mistake we make is that we will get into a project and we will do our part, we will do our part.

And then we’re done. And we’ve not communicated. We have not discovered that plans have changed. We have not discovered that we just duplicated works because somebody else did that as well. We have not discovered that if we just talk to somebody else, we might find that we have something else we’ve got to change about the part that we’re doing, the work that we’re doing, whatever it is, we don’t communicate and we do our thing and then we just wait, just give to somebody else or we just wait to see what happens. Or we wait until the August 23rd date to put it all together and find out, oh, we actually didn’t do this as well as we thought we could. Make sure that you’re communicating with people across the teams, whoever’s involved to show them what work you’ve done, to see what work that needs to be done, to see if there’s input that you can give them on their thing, whatever that is.

Also book 15 to 30 minutes in your calendar before the meeting to make sure you’re prepared and starting on time. So whether it’s that communication with teams, whether it’s any kind of meetings, whatever it is, always take a look to make sure that if you need extra time to be prepared for the meeting, that you’re putting that on your calendar. Last thing is teach others to do the same. Understand that this is not just for you. This is going to make you successful in the things that you’re doing, but if you are not teaching your team members to do the same thing, then you’re teaching them to do all the wrong things, right? You’re teaching them do all the things that you used to do. So as you put these things in place, make sure that you’re setting other people up for success by teaching them to do the same things.

Now, these three habits are going to help you to gain a little margin so you have the time to solve larger pieces. These quick steps can help you gain enough time back to kill the leadership crazy cycle, which is almost always the core issue keeping leaders stuck. Again, I promise yosabou, when you take a look at your day and you take a look at the things that are keeping you overwhelmed or keeping you from solving bigger things are causing you to shoot from the hip… Almost every single time it’s the leadership crazy cycle that is keeping you there. So when you have killed the leadership crazy cycle, you no longer need these little hacks to put the unending to do list at bay. You’re not leading from overwhelm. Your time is focused on the most important areas as a leader and you’re delegating properly and effectively.

You simply start leading out of preparation and it shows in your performance. So if you haven’t heard me talking about killing the leadership crazy cycle on the show, let me say this, it is the number one lesson that we push into our next level mastermind program. It is the number one lesson that we push into our key leaders program, number one. So everybody in those two programs must go through killing the leadership crazy cycle first. Why? Because they’ve not been taught those things. These are foundational things to make you successful. These are foundational things to keep you from being stuck in the leadership crazy cycle. So first thing that we do, everybody has to go through it and it is phenomenal. We’ve, we’ve seen so many folks that have gone through this where they were when they started. So we have everybody in the program take the assessment to see where they are in the leadership crazy cycle.

And eight out of 10 leaders have discovered that they are on some level stuck in the leadership crazy cycle. They don’t have the margin and they’re not prepared to lead their teams to success and the percentages of how much growth they need, how much stuff they need to solve in that process is a lot usually. And so after taking that assessment, it shows them the things you know inside again, inside the program of the things that they need to do to solve that, to kill the leadership crazy cycle. So today you can take the killing the leadership crazy cycle assessment. It’s been pared down for you to see where you are in the leadership crazy cycle. So you can get that at ChrisLoCurto.com/334 It will take you less than 10 minutes. This will help you to see where you are in the leadership crazy cycle. Well folks, thank you for joining me today. I hope this has served you well. I encourage you to subscribe, rate, review, and share the podcast to help more people join our community. And as always, take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

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