Entrepreneurs are innovators at heart—but often they must be managers too. Business owners who are put into a managerial role have to wear an additional hat that requires constant evaluation, adjustment and innovation. Even the brightest and the boldest team is lost without a leader to work with them and guide them through the challenges.
I found myself learning that lesson as my business entered an exciting new phase of growth. Equator was rising up to new challenges. As each team member adjusted their work for the job ahead, I had to adjust mine as well. Managing a team with a new set of goals meant I had to bring in some new management techniques that I had developed over the years. Sticking to old ways would lead the company in circles. We were already given a second chance, and we couldn’t afford to end up back where we started.
In my upcoming book, I explain how I had to re-evaluate where Equator stood as a company and adjust the way I acted as a manager.
“All those years ago, we had hit a wall that made it clear we would have to make a choice: reevaluate and learn from our mistakes or give up… As Equator raised its head from the crash, I knew that if I wanted to see this company move forward, it couldn’t be focused on the bottom line alone. I, and my company, had to look at the customer. Second chances are rare in business, so when you receive one, it’s your responsibility to do it right and avoid the mistakes of the past. But every past mishap provides opportunities for growth that can fuel a brighter future.
Just as I did multiple times before, I evaluated the landscape of my business in light of each new phase we entered. I had discovered that management must constantly evolve to meet the demands of the present. As an entrepreneur, I had been used to innovating. But in the beginning, I was out of my element when it came to managing a business. Through each phase, and through trial and error, I learned and developed stronger theories for managing my company in the most efficient way. From orchestra conductor to striving for a Yin-Yang balance, one thing became clear. As I surveyed the next phase before me, that of continued innovation for customer satisfaction, I knew that a new phase of management was needed.
Neither of those early theories were wrong in themselves. They served their purpose for their times. But for growth and sustainability to continue, and to ensure that our customers were given the highest priority, I would have to seamlessly blend together the role of the orchestral conductor who oversees every department and movement, while coordinating the balance of the opposing Yin and Yang teams. Failing to coordinate properly would mean excess resources and lost opportunities. If not careful, an imbalance could throw off the entire operation with disastrous results.”
If I had stuck with my old ways of management, I would have disregarded the often subtle differences among teams and their functions. Failing to acknowledge these differences would have ultimately led to discord and stagnation throughout the company.
Being a leader is not always about managing in a preferred style. A good leader must be able to understand how individuals and teams balance each other out, and apply it for the greater good of the company and customers.
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