As a visionary entrepreneur, I have always been driven by the big picture and casting the vision for my business. However, I realized that in order to achieve true success and growth, I needed to have the right team and strategic partnership in place. This is why I am excited to be a part of this mini-series, where we will be discussing the importance of strategic partnership in entrepreneurship.
Today, my lovely Operations Director, Marieanna, will be interviewing me to give a glimpse into the mind of a visionary and the obstacles we face when building and scaling a business. One of the biggest challenges I faced as a visionary was trying to do everything myself, from project management to hiring and handling the day-to-day details. I thought I could be the creator, CEO, and project manager all at once. However, I soon realized that this approach was unsustainable and hindering my business’s growth. Even when I hired for these positions, I struggled with turnover and finding the right fit for my team, which caused more stress than growth. This is where strategic partnership comes in, and I believe it is crucial for entrepreneurs to understand the power of it. In this mini-series, we will be exploring how strategic partnership can help optimize your team and time, and ultimately lead to greater ease and faster growth for your business.
Why You Need to Invest in People
As a business owner, I made my first hire back in 2011, and in retrospect, it was a complete disaster. At the time, I had a corporate mindset and hired people solely based on their resumes and skill sets, without considering their personalities or how well they would fit within the company culture. I didn’t have a proper onboarding process, which made it difficult for my employees to understand their roles and responsibilities, and as a result, I experienced a high rate of turnover. I was frustrated with the situation, and I kept wondering why people couldn’t just do what they said they could do.
At times, I felt like giving up and going back to doing everything myself. But I knew that if I wanted my business to grow and succeed, I needed to hire and invest in my employees. I had to learn to let go and trust them to do their work. I realized that hiring was not just about finding the right skills but also finding the right fit and investing in them for long-term success.
I needed to understand what made them tick, support their growth, and empower them to become the best version of themselves. I started implementing a better onboarding process and began to build systems to bring them into the business. I also realized that I needed to give them permission to do their work and the resources to do it well. I had to allow them to make mistakes and learn from them. I had to create a culture that supported them and allowed them to thrive.
Letting Go of Control
As a visionary leader, I found it difficult to let go of control and allow others into my business. It felt like my baby, and I was scared to let others take the reins. But I came to realize that in order to grow, I needed to open up my fists and let others in. I wanted my employees to feel accountable and be able to make an impact. For this to happen, I needed to get clear on my vision and what we were building together. I had to hire people not just for their skills but to also help them see why they were doing it and how it was a part of the bigger picture.
It was challenging for me to relinquish control and to trust that mistakes could be fixed. But I saw that every mistake was a learning opportunity, and I had to put systems in place to minimize the possibility of errors. I also had to let go of my trust issues and start having conversations with my employees about what we were building together. It wasn’t just me putting rules on them; it was a collaboration where we discussed our standards, what excited us, and what we wanted to bring to the table.
Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs also taught me the value of treating people well. I worked at my uncle’s chiropractic office, my mom’s CPA firm, my grandfather’s law office, and my dad’s real estate appraisal business. I noticed that each of them had the same employees for 40 years, even though these employees could have had better benefits or pay at a corporation. What made them stay was the value system that my family members lived by. I wanted to emulate that in my business and make sure that my employees felt valued and appreciated. I knew that if I could create a culture that spoke to them and helped them see the impact of their work, they would be inspired and excited to stay with me for the long haul.
That is leadership and it’s an ongoing battle that a lot of people face. This is not something that just happens with time, this is a very intentional shift. And one of the things we coach really strongly is helping our leaders make that shift and yes, having the systems and the strategies in place, but also figuring out who you need to be to really cultivate your people and help them become who they’re called to be, because then you’re living up to your potential as a leader.
How to Find the Right People for Your Team
Now, you may ask yourself (like I did many times) – Where do I find these people?
It’s not about finding the right person; it’s about cultivating them.
It’s also about leading with love and investing in your team. By understanding your team and serving them well, they will return the favor. Getting to know your team’s personality, understanding the intricacies of your people and knowing how to lead them will result in the best possible output from your team. By cultivating your team, you get into an indescribable flow that results in everyone firing on all cylinders.
This reminds me of a conversation I had with my mom years ago when I was creating my core values. She shared that although she didn’t have a formal core value statement, she knew that her team members handled difficult situations with integrity and in congruence with the company’s core values because she had modeled it for 40 years. This made me realize the significance of leadership and how important it is to live and model core values, rather than just stating them on a website or in an onboarding email.
It’s not enough to have a value statement and display it in the office or in emails. You have to live by your values to be an effective leader. The key to a successful business is to model your core values, and your team will naturally handle situations in integrity and congruence with those values.
Managing vs Leading
In leadership, it is important to understand the difference between managing a team and leading one. The leadership should always come first, and it has to be inspired leadership. Sometimes leaders believe that hiring an integrator or a project manager will solve all their problems, but there’s a disconnect when the leader doesn’t want to deal with the people. A leader should be asking where they’re going together, what they’re building together, how everyone is critical in the puzzle, and what’s in it for them.
Leadership comes from a place of love, and at times it can get really uncomfortable because it challenges people to be better. It’s like being a parent to your children; sometimes it’s uncomfortable for them because you expect more and know they have more in them. It’s out of love that I see something in them that they’re not seeing in themselves at the moment. It’s a hard thing to do because I want to be liked, but that’s what people need in life: someone to see potential in them and it’s my job to help pull that potential out.
Of course, to be a successful leader, systems need to be in place, like SOPs, procedures, and other tools that work. It gives team members the confidence to do their job without having to be managed. Otherwise, there’s no time for leadership because you’re always going back to the same mistakes, and you don’t have a choice but to manage your people. That’s why in our programs, we provide processes and resources to help our clients lead their teams successfully. We have taken the time to strip out the answers to common questions and turn them into processes that our clients can use.
How Bringing in a Strategic Partner Helps You Scale
For me, the most powerful part of bringing in a strategic partner into my business, my amazing Operations Director Marieanna, has been the freedom it has given me. As the leader of the organization, I now have the margin to do what only I can and should do, the mission-critical tasks that only the leader should be doing. Things like leading my team, casting vision, and having the space to think and create.
Before Marieanna came on board, my days were broken up with managing calls, responding to Slack messages, and dealing with fires that needed to be put out. I was left with only small blocks of time to tackle big-picture items. But with the freedom the strategic partner provides, I can focus on long-term business building, looking three, five, even ten years out. I can see possibilities that I couldn’t see before and access opportunities that were previously out of reach. This has been a game-changer for our bottom line.
Not only has this given me the freedom to focus on what’s most important, but it has also had a significant impact on our team. We now operate in a state of flow, we have an energy that’s hard to describe, but it’s palpable. Our team is having a blast, and we’re excited about what we’re working on. Even in the off-hours, we’re texting each other about new ideas and opportunities. This energy has been a revival for our team, and it’s hard to put into words how much it means to us.
For those who may be in a rut with their business, I want to emphasize that business is cyclical. You will go through ups and downs, but having a strategic partner can help you weather those storms. It’s about getting into your sweet spot as a leader and giving your team the space to do what they do best. With a strategic partner, you can shift your trajectory and bring your ideas to life with a solid project plan.
How To Lead Better
In my opinion, if you want to lead your people better, the first step is to take ownership of your role as a leader. You need to be crystal clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing and what your responsibility is. But it’s not just about what you do, it’s also about who you become in the process. So, if you’re struggling with high turnover, frustration, stress, and overwhelm, you need to take ownership and learn, embody, study, and understand leadership. Stop trying to grab the next strategy or hire people you think will fix all your problems. Most entrepreneurs do it this way, but it’s not true. You might feel like you don’t have the time, the money, the bandwidth, or a team that’s going to support you, but guess what – leadership is what expands those things. Leadership expands your capacity for so many things, such as handling problems, stressors, challenges, seeing possibility, and chasing big dreams.
The second step is to realize that the idea of being a visionary CEO or creative who’s trying to do it all or doesn’t have the people to do it all is a major problem for successful business owners. This was something that I’ve realized in the past year so we decided to recalibrate our Incubator Mastermind into the Visionary Right Hand Mastermind, to help you break through all these problems. By coming into this mastermind with a strategic partner, being coached in the systems, strategy, visionary, and leadership portions, you’ll learn how to lead your strategic partner- and the strategic partner also gets support directly in the systems and how to work with the crazy brain of a visionary and how to support them better.
If this sounds like something you need and what’s being said resonates with you, you can apply to the mastermind by going to https://luminaryleadershipco.com/mastermind/. We’d love to see if this would be a good fit! And if a mastermind is not for you right now but you are interested in having access to templates, tools and resources to help you create your dream team, get on the waitlist here: https://luminaryleadershipco.com/leader.
- If you are ready for your breakthrough and are seeking additional support, check out: https://luminaryleadershipco.com/mastermind
- If you interested in having access to templates, tools and resources to help you create your dream team, get on the waitlist here: https://luminaryleadershipco.com/leader
- Connect with me on Instagram!
- Episode 20: Creating a People-First Culture with Steve Gabriel
- Episode 22: Visionary vs. Realist: How to Get on the Same Page as Your Spouse
- Episode 98: Building and Leading a Team that Supports Your Mission with Husband and Wife Business Owners Ryan and Anna Leonard
- Episode 156: Create More in Less Time, Get Focused + Become Unstoppable with This Tweak That Changed Everything For Me!
- Episode 162: Unleash Your Entrepreneurial Potential with a Future-Focused Leadership Success Strategy