As an entrepreneur, you can involve yourself in just about any decision when the company is in its early stage. As the company grows, however, it it becomes harder stay on top of every issue. You do your best to prioritize and manage your involvement, but at a certain point you feel overwhelmed–like you’re drinking from a fire hose. There are just too many high-priority issues, and you feel like you’re reacting and responding, not planning and innovating. Your days get longer, and you’re exhausted, and, worse, it feels like the magic is gone. You’re not as effective and discerning as you once were, it seems, and your people are pushing back.
You’re not alone, though it may feel like you are.
When their organizations start to take off, entrepreneurs often struggle to lead. They still have their passion and vision, but they don’t always know when to make decisions and when to delegate. They want to delegate more, but they’re not sure they can trust others as much as they trust themselves. Not surprisingly, their coworkers find the mix of delegation and CEO interference highly unpredictable and irritating. They feel like throwing up their hands, too! That’s when they start to push back.
As CEO, you can change the cultural DNA of your organization–from a culture of dependence and unpredictability to one of independence and accountability. You have the ability to go into the double-helix and adjust the coding. Here’s how: Instead of intervening with each challenge and issue that you observe, ask “Whose decision is it?”
Let your people do the jobs they were hired to do. (If their job description and responsibilities have changed since then, be sure that they are updated and accurate!) Honor your team members by honoring their job descriptions and responsibilities. Let them build their trust in you, and you in them, by holding them accountable for their results. You must, however, allow them the room and independence to do their jobs their own way.
Creating a culture of independence and accountability will reduce your stress, build a more resilient organization, and improve morale.
If you start making others’ decisions for them, however, the cultural DNA will revert to its previous form, and you’ll lose accountability. You’ll find yourself feeling lonely again at the top with too many decisions to make and not enough time to make them well.