Great leaders are not afraid to ask for help
“More than talent. More than knowledge. More than innovation. Before any leader can tap into the real power of organizational health, they must be willing to step back and assess their company’s current condition and its cohesive integrity. They must ask for help.”
– Robert Schmidt
In our previous blog, “Key Elements of a Smart & Healthy Organization,” we compared the importance of early diagnosis of a physical ailment to identifying problems in your organization before it is too late.
Asking for aid might be difficult when you’re a leader. You may feel weak or inept, and less of a hero. After all, you’re supposed to know all of the answers, right? These feelings are understandable coming from a culture inundated with movies that captivate us with cinematic flair and altruistic, valiant, and fearless heroes, single-handedly taking down the enemy. However, a true hero is aided by a guide and a team to help them succeed. Luke Skywalker had Yoda, Frodo had Gandalf, and Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi.
True heroes do not walk alone —They ask for help.
“I needed someone who could give me a lot more specific tactical advice on how to fix things… whether it was helping me with hiring, project management or setting goals…I needed to know what changes I needed to make.”
– Stan Sheldon- CEO of Sheldon Architecture
When your business takes a turn for the worse, it can be hard to move forward. It can look like there is no way out of your situation.
Stan, the CEO of Sheldon Architecture, was surprised by the unexpected downturn of his architectural firm from 2008 to 2010. During this challenging time, Stan wanted to give up. The thought of setting goals, making plans, and dreaming was hard to fathom. Some of you might be going through a similar situation.
It wasn’t until Stan met Robert Schmidt that he began to see a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Robert’s specific encouragement and simple business roadmap provided stepping stones toward his desired destination.
Strategic and Simple- Two words that changed everything!
After years of taking on every project his company could manage, Stan knew his company could not continue on such a rigorous path. He was amazed when Robert began to guide him by asking the right questions to help him write down specific goals for the next quarter, year, and five years. This changed Everything!
“It is amazing what happens when you write down your goals.”
– Stan Sheldon- CEO of Sheldon Architecture
Stan’s outlook for his company’s future improved through encouragement and goal setting. He was ready to implement plans that would change the trajectory of his company. These plans would increase better management of projects and improve the company’s marketing strategy.
“Strategy a high-level plan to achieve a set of goals under conditions of uncertainty.”
First and foremost, Robert gave Stan a simple, written strategy. Secondly, he asked pertinent questions like, How will you succeed? What is most important right now? And who is responsible for specific jobs? Answering these types of questions in writing every quarter, forecasting out 3 to 4 quarters, and combining this with a longer-term 3 to 5-year goal, you will be well ahead of most of your competitors.
When you develop a simple strategic plan that is easy to communicate and reinforces company values, your company will have a robust organizational culture. Your team will be excited to come to work knowing they have a clear, achievable plan to implement within an inspiring, fun, and creative environment. We spend a large portion of our waking hours at work. As the leaders of our companies, it is our responsibility to create the best possible environment in which our enterprise can flourish. A strong culture is a common thread among the most successful businesses.
An organization’s culture can improve its overall performance by providing a strategic competitive advantage and firmly upholding and sharing beliefs and values with the organization.
Sheldon Architecture has built culture by having open offices with- no doors allowing others to hear struggles, successes, and dialogue with customers. The culture includes honesty, empathy, and camaraderie with their teammates. They also have Friday lunch, focusing on inspirational topics around design, different projects, and lessons learned.
No organizational culture will be the same. Your culture will be based upon your values, beliefs, attitudes, and goals. That is why it is pivotal to write down your values, goals, mission, and vision and share them with your whole team, so they can join you in making lives better at work and in the world.