My Mom used to do needlepoint and made some pretty intricate designs. I remember seeing what she was working on and not being very impressed because all I saw from my side was a collection of strings hanging all over like she had no idea what she was doing.
She was looking intently at work from her side with a great focus on details, but all I saw was chaos on the backside. I saw an ugly mess from my perspective, but from her perspective, she knew what she was making and she saw it coming together nicely to make the finished product. Eventually she would finish her work and turn it around so I could see the results of her efforts.
There are actually a lot of similarities between Mom's needlepoint and your leadership skills. Like Mom, you need to:
Communicate Vision - As the leader of your company, you often see things from a different perspective because you have a vision of where you are going and what it will look like when it's done. Your job as the Business Owner or CEO is to let your team understand what you are doing so they will trust you along the way. You need to create a clear and compelling vision of what things will look like in the end so your team doesn't worry when things don't look right from their side.
Keep the Team Engaged - Let your team see the progress along the way...kind of like flipping the needlepoint over on a regular basis so others see it coming together. This is the reason I encourage Business Owners to have quarterly goals, which allows their team to see results every 13 weeks as everyone races toward the goal. Regularly checking in with the team keeps people from doubting that they'll ever finish or will get off-track...plus they can help you fine tune your efforts if things aren't looking like they are supposed to.
Stay Focused - Leadership takes needlepoint-like focus. Sometimes Mom would notice something did not look right and she had to pull the string back out until it got to the place where she could correct things. Even the best leaders get off-track and we all sometimes need to do some course correction.
Don't be too proud or stubborn to admit you made a mistake, and be willing to go back a few steps to do it right. Only YOU really know what it should look like when its done right, so be honest enough to pull a few strings back out in front of the team and get back on track.
Finally, REMEMBER THIS WARNING - Being off just an inch when building a foundation can cause real problems in the final result. And though it seems like no big deal, we've found this simple step of showing our plans to others so they can help us see things we may be missing can be responsible for creating huge savings and preventing major headaches.
After all, it's always better to go back and do it right than to be stuck with it later. That's one of the benefits of being in our Peer to Peer Advisory Groups and getting unbiased feedback from successful leaders who face the same challenges you do.
Talk to Amber Grundahl at 858-551-6600, and let her connect you with a Forum Leader in your area. You'd be surprised how many business challenges can be resolved just by asking a friend for their opinion.
Robert Hunt is a dynamic leader who has a passion for excellence and a drive to help others reach their maximum potential. You can reach him at www.executiveforums.com.