Originally posted 10/10/2014, revised 1/6/2022.
During a coaching session the other day, one of my clients asked me a very interesting question. To paraphrase his question –> given his shortcoming number one, and shortcoming number two, and etc., “if you (meaning me) owned my (meaning his) company and I was your employee, would you fire me?” At first I was, I must admit, speechless. After gathering my composure I realized a couple of things:
- All of the shortcomings he mentioned represented areas that are outside of the ownership and leadership zone. They all focused on working IN the business rather than working ON the business. They revolved around tasks that he could, and should delegate. My client owns a mid-sized manufacturing company with a front office team that has the theoretical capacity to accomplish most, if not all, of the items he mentioned. On the other hand, his front office team may not be the right team to accomplish the items. Which led me to my second realization …
- Being an owner or a leader is very different from being an employee. An owner or executive has several prime responsibilities, among them are:
- To create and maintain a success environment for his team.
- To create, communicate and live the company’s Mission, Vision and Culture (M/V/C) and, in the case of an executive, a department’s local M/V/C.
- To design, build and lead the company or department and its team to ensure consistent delivery of the company’s M/V/C.
So my answer to his question was that as an employee I might fire him. But as an owner however, he, as is the case for all of us, could improve. I told him that it is time to build the kind of team to whom he could confidently delegate, not abdicate, those items that he shouldn’t be doing, is not good at or simply doesn’t like doing. Effective and successful delegation will enable him to concentrate on working toward growing the business and fulfilling the company’s M/V/C, in other words, to grow as an owner.