Building the team & company culture – and upbringing little ones seem to have much more in common than I could have imagined.
I’m a father for 16 months now. And a CEO for 8 years, across two companies. I was (and probably still am) making a myriad of mistakes as a CEO – especially in regards to building my team, culture and processes. Being the one that is looked up to is tough; I want to be a person of very high integrity and positive influence – yet again I somehow managed to make whole gamut of mistakes on every step of the way. In time, and with some help from my friends&peers, I’ve managed to reach certain epiphany on where I went wrong, and to the best of my abilities I’m trying not to make the same mistakes over again.
Now, when I’m getting up to speed in being a dad, I see one thing particularly standing out in both roles I play. A single pivotally important trait one needs to build up in order to be a great CEO to the team and a great dad:
Both your little one, and your comrades in trenches expect you to be rock solid in your acting and believes, as that’s the only way they can follow you with confidence.
There’s absolutely nothing more devastating to self-confidence of your team mates (and your kid) than being inconsistent in your beliefs and actions!
But here’s the thing – I bet you a dollar that nobody actually wants to be inconsistent. Did you ever hear a person saying “yeah, I know I’m not very much consistent and all, but I kind of don’t really care…“. What I strongly believe is that inconsistency comes as as a consequence of another trait a lot of us practice more often than not – being superficial.
Being superficial (or even worse – random) in making decisions and communicating things is the safest way to get to the point where everything will fall apart – both in your upbringing and company leading.
But – it is not like any of us wants to be superficial :) I also never met a person who actually told me “yeah, I know I’m superficial, but you know what? I don’t care…“.
So what gives? Time. And lack of focus.
I actually realized it’s quite simple. Let me break it down:
Overwhelmed > Superficial > Inconsistent
We’re inconsistent because we’re superficial. And we’re superficial because we are overwhelmed with information and stressful interrupts, thus lacking proper perspective and focus to invest time in dealing with important things.
It is very energy consuming to deep dive in every single detail and aspect when you make decisions daily. Your little one (or your employee) is waiting for you to make a call, and you cannot tell them – “look I don’t have enough data, nor time to process this properly – so… just do whatever you want“. Instead, you probably act upon something after putting a few minutes of thinking to the matter. Why? Because you have lots of balls in the air all the time, and you need to make a decision so you can move on.
This is how our society works. Website visitor? Explain things and benefits in 10 seconds. Media? 140 characters or less.
The problem is that this pattern inevitably leads to the dark side – we miss on extremely important details. Details that might help understand things better. In case of CEO and a dad – evaluate employees/kids better, i.e. noticing their hard work or slacking off. They will inevitably notice us being superficial, hence find the way to “hack” the way we evaluate them for hard working/slacking – which will hurt proper upbringing tremendously.
We are being superficial because we’re not capable of properly allocating the most precious resource of all – our time. So instead of telling people directly “I’m sorry I can’t focus on this right now“, or “I don’t have the time right now – lets talk tomorrow” – we’re simply being superficial instead.
The solution? Don’t waste my life.
I would appreciate 100x more being told “I’m really sorry, I don’t have time to read all of this, can you please summarize most important things for me?“, than getting uninterested and superficial feedback.
There’s no easy way out of this one – you simply have to invest time and focus to everything you do. However, since you’re investing the most precious resource of all – you have the full right to make sure people honor the time you have given them! If you wasted 10 minutes of your life reading email that doesn’t give any valuable information – give honest feedback, and make sure that person never again wastes your time like that.
Use your time well, and use it fully.
If you put your full focus on whatever is in front of you in that particular moment, and make sure to understand all the relevant details – you will never get into position to be superficial, and in turn be inconsistent next time when similar pattern occurs. Your employees and your little one will never feel lost, not understood, or prone to your mood swings. You’ll be rock solid and consistent. You will think things throughfully, hence always be able to defend your reasoning. And if you do make a bad judgement (which of course will happen – a lot), they’ll be ok with it – as they’ll know you acted to the best of your abilities.
Part Two: Who sleeps on the right side tonight?