Unexpected losses of key people are one of the most costly and troublesome issues a business can face. With all the talk some leaders give about the importance of attracting and retaining top talent, you wouldn’t think there would be a revolving door in some companies. But so often there is.
In organizations, large and small, leadership is needed at every level and every area. It’s a false assumption to believe that you have to be in the C-Suite in order to be an effective leader. So how do you lead when you’re not the top dog? You learn to develop your influence wherever you currently are in an organization.
Business growth is simply not possible without change. But the business press and management gurus promise us that if we follow this or that formula for success, then all of our problems will disappear. These are false promises. Change is part of business and life, and as long as we are alive, we will have obstacles to overcome. Ignoring this most basic law of business growth is like ignoring gravity.
50% of all businesses are gone within the first 2 years. After 5 years, it’s 80%. In 10 years, it’s 96%. 500,000 businesses are started every year. At the end of 10 years, there are only 20,000 of them left. The bottom line: Only 4 out of 100 businesses survive 10 or more years.
CEOs of growing companies face all the challenges that come with success: they need to scale their organization, to go regional, national, or global, to recruit and develop the right team as they scale, to build a great culture, to work effectively with their board, and to lead by influencing others rather than doing it all themselves. Success requires specific behaviors and changes to take on each new challenge along the way.
Early in my career, I assumed that all business growth was good; I assumed bigger was always better. After a $1 billion bankruptcy, it’s safe to say that I was wrong. Looking back, I can see that we stumbled and fell over the same fundamental issues that I see growing companies tripping over today.
In business life, one of the greatest challenges is having difficult conversations. And for many managers, firing someone is the hardest conversation of them all. But you cannot build a great business without a strong team – that means learning how to let people go.
Do you have the leadership and managerial talent needed to grow your business? Developing your high-potential employees helps meet one of the biggest challenges of rapidly growing organizations: the ongoing need for leadership talent.
Much of what we believe about what it takes to scale a successful company and keep it growing is just plain wrong. Despite all the conventional wisdom about the greatness of America’s entrepreneurial culture, the fact is most companies start small and stay that way.
I have witnessed numerous highflying companies come crashing to the ground. Through these experiences, I’ve learned a fundamental truth: Businesses don’t fail. Leaders fail. Nearly all leaders who preside over struggling businesses slip into several leadership traps on the way down. These traps can be so destructive that they can overshadow a leader’s strengths.