Top Dog Blog

Veterans in industry and the public sector share insights, tips, and trends in Effective Leadership


May 1, 2018

Sum of a Business > its Parts

A Business itself is larger than any of us, including those who lead and influence it. It is impacted by many people, actions, and most of all, leadership behaviors. One of the hardest things to get through in any business, especially one that is rapidly growing, is the constantly changing needs of the organization. Just like a growing child, progressive sports team, or anything else that is trying to advance, the needs of a business vs the needs of people within the organization drastically change through different phases. Sometimes this leaves us in a very precarious position with regard to individuals we care greatly about. Some will have the skills, knowledge, judgment, and thoughtfulness to make it through many major business milestones – others will not. These are some things to think about as you take this journey.

Condone = Allow

Our CTO has a great saying, “You condone what you allow.” What we think might be kind to one person in allowing them to underperform in a position, in fact, demotivates others and often leads to politics and issues you never intended to introduce. And then, there is a question of how those who overperform or work incredibly hard for promotion, perceive this action, and subsequently, your leadership for letting it prevail. However, putting people in the right place in the business does not always constituent a promotion.

Courage to Lead

Have empathy and manage your emotions. We feel very close to many people within our business. We want to show the highest degree of loyalty to those who are growing with us and demonstrate devotion to the organization. However, that does not negate the possibility that they are in the wrong position. When that is the case, showing them empathy through a path that gets them to the right place, will be greatly appreciated in the long run.

Keep It Real

Candid feedback is caring feedback. Many of us tell our kids, “bugs are as afraid of you as you are of them.” Tough conversations can often be the same way. Both sides are a bit anxious. As leaders, it is on us to shoulder the burden of opening these conversations and confronting the discomfort head on. When done with care, tact, and empathy, it will go well. Sometimes your belief in them is all they need. There are many paths to success. We as leaders have to believe in those around us, give them support, and have patience in their development. Knowing what path to take and with whom, is where we determine our success. Many times, it is our personal belief in others and how we demonstrate it that helps them to break through walls.

Bottom Line

No single situation is the same nor can a specific diagnosis be prescribed. We as leaders own the results of the business entirely and must shoulder tough calls. The sum of the business is greater than all of its parts, and it comes down to the decisions we make that will determine success.