Boat sailor find and follow your company captain

For business success, find and follow your company captain.

The year 2020 demonstrated yet again how little we control the world around us. So, be cautious about spending 2021 reading or listening to every good idea to protect your team against the next unknown.  

There are too many good ideas and not enough time, energy, and personnel to implement them all. Worse, some good ideas press against others. So if you commit to a decentralized, remote workforce, then management by walking around must be redefined for effectiveness. Likely there’s a better metaphor for the type of management you’ll need than walking around.  

Find And Follow Your Company Captain Who Demonstrates Convictions

Leaders need convictions – a commitment to certain core principles that inform values and guide decision-making. This is not an unwillingness to ever change course or a refusal to admit they are wrong, but it is a presumption in favor of these principles. For example, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DISC, Enneagram – each is a great personality assessment.

My personal conviction is that Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the best assessment to use in the context of family, DISC in the context of employment, and Enneagram in the context of young adults looking to understand themselves. That could change, but I am not searching each day for a new assessment to use. I use these until I am persuaded that there is a better one for the purpose I am pursuing.

Find And Follow Your Company Captain Who Is Service Focused

Rather than sell products I focus on serving actual customer needs. I don’t care if we follow the precise guidelines of a framework (Supernova, EOS/Traction, Good to Great, StrengthFinders 2.0); I care that we adapt the framework to their needs. We don’t serve the frameworks, the frameworks provide support to us.  

How do you begin?

Start by writing down your core principles, your convictions, and consider how they inform your values and guide your decision-making. If the results are ill-defined, chaotic, or contradictory, then you will need to refine your convictions. Once you establish your principles, then focus on living them out more fully and effectively until you recognize a need to add to or adapt them further.  

Life is too short to be a research project.

You need to live. Start with the materials you have. Tap into the wise counsel of others.

Begin using the good ideas you find compelling and fit them to your organization without worrying that there’s another good, possibly better, idea that you’re missing. Think of convictions as the captain of your ship. As long as you train sailors, you can spend time searching for those capable of being captain. And, while port is safe, ships are meant for open water.

Once you set sail, your captain must be in place. This will be someone selected from among many good candidates and you can never be sure that your selection is best. But when storms burst upon you and threaten your intended course, you will have a capable leader. You won’t be scrambling to identify and select a leader when you are least able to focus – in the midst of the storm. Keep training your captain while at sea. (Refine your convictions while on your journey.)

Don’t attempt to perfect them before you’re willing to set sail. Instead of focusing on keeping your team safe from life’s unknowns, prepare them to meet and manage through those challenges while continuing to your destination.

Find And Follow Your Company Captain Who Stays On Course

The leaders whose teams continued on course despite all that 2020 hurled at them, began the year with clear convictions, with a company captain in place. Others recognized, too late, that they lacked a captain or were still searching for the best candidate from among an endless supply of possibilities. We don’t know what 2021 will bring, but we can be prepared if we find and follow our captain!  

About Julian Consulting

Dr. Stephen Julian is President of Julian Consulting, a firm specializing in team health, effective communication, and leadership development. He has worked with leaders and their teams for nearly 30 years in a variety of settings – including Africa, South and Central America.

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