Ever heard the expression “Two’s company, three’s a crowd”? How about “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Amusing aphorisms aside, the composition of your business’s executive team is an understated element in your business’s success. Too many executives try to do it all — or, they bring on so many advisors and directors that no one can agree on a path to move forward.
Whether it’s a small business that hums along with just a couple of people or a large corporation with an organizational chart that resembles a skyscraper, knowing how to streamline your resources is crucial to your business’s well-being. Let’s take a look at some common pitfalls in executive leadership and how to fix them.
Not Delegating Tasks
The higher you are in your business, the more stuff lands on your desk. It can quickly become crippling if you feel compelled to handle it all. That’s why delegation is a crucial tool in any executive’s arsenal. The role of an executive is to provide vision, leadership, and strategy to a business. Without that, the business will get off track and ultimately fail. Consider delegation the best thing you can do to keep your business afloat so that you can focus on doing what only you can do.
While you don’t want to constantly be at odds with your fellow leaders, you also don’t want to fall into a pattern that’s devoid of creativity. Every business needs innovation to stay competitive, and if your team tends to be set in its ways and all in agreement, that could present a problem. Consider how your organization is structured. Is there diversity across each
level of the org chart, or are all your directors the same type of leader? sometimes, consistency can be a downfall, and a bit of provocative dialogue among your leaders can be a gamechanger.
No Big-Picture Thinker
Many business people tend to be details-driven and passionate, especially if they’ve been in the company for awhile. It’s all too easy to get one’s head stuck in the weeds, unable to take a bird’s eye view. This is especially a problem for overachievers and perfectionists who want to get everything just right.
With a lack of big-picture ideation comes a lack of strategy, and your business will end up being pulled along by the current rather than making waves. It’s important to place big-thinkers at critical junctures in your organization. Even if they’re a bit “pie-in-the-sky,” they can provide perspectives that other people might not achieve as readily.
Too Much Collaboration
Collaboration is certainly beneficial to any business, but like all good things, it’s best in moderation. Opening up projects to massive focus groups and panels often backfire. When you have so many voices giving input, it can be challenging to find a way forward. It’s important to cultivate ownership among people at strategic points in your organization.
Sometimes, limiting accountability and decision-making to select leaders or team members works better than a super-democratic free-for-all. Don’t be afraid to draw lines in the sand to help your team be more productive.
Keeping It All In-House
These days, most businesses need ample room to scale up. We’re serving an ever more globalized audience and constantly innovating new solutions. And as every business owner needs, to maximize profits, you need to minimize the resources you spend.
With that in mind, why do so many business owners insist on keeping all projects in-house? This approach often means that team members have to wear multiple hats, executives can’t focus on strategy and leadership, and everyone is overworked — which is good for neither productivity nor profits. Smart executives outsource as much as they can to freelancers, agencies, or crowdsourced design providers, who often can bring a highly skilled and therefore cost-effective approach to the task.
In short, the best executives treat their business like a ship: everyone has their roles and no one is confused about who is in charge of what. There is a healthy mix of different mindsets and skillsets, so when a problem emerges, there is always someone who can offer a solution.
Each part of the organization works together rather than stumbling into each other’s wheelhouses. To successfully run a business, one must know how and when to draw the lines and place talented people where they can do the most good.