Business owners are an independent lot. Many have even said, “no one would hire me.” So, I created my own job. Seeking advice can be a big challenge for them. It is okay to seek help. This is not a sign of weakness. Rather it is an admission that others may have strengths I am lacking. If you are more right brain comfortable, having a left brain focused person to trade off ideas and challenges can expand results.
This is all about communication. Seeking first to understand, as Covey has said, requires active listening talents. Each of us processes information differently. Some are quick, others want to noodle and think about what has been discussed. We like two tools that help. Kathy Kolbe (Kolbe.com) measures our natural strengths in four areas. Our firm uses this tool and evaluation aid when hiring folks for different roles.
Another communication tool we like to use early in a relationship is the Insight Profile. Again, it measures four critical decision-making skills and positions the person to the left or right of the center. This is particularly helpful when you have two people on opposite extremes of one or more references. Being able to adapt to the other’s style enables folks to make progress in solving issues.
Most business owners have a pain or obstacle that creates sufficient call to attention to seek out business advice. For me it is very important, either as a consumer or provider of these services, to clearly define the pain, obstacle or struggle. Then, define the steps or road map that will be taken to solve what is making the business owner uncomfortable.
A very critical reality is both parties have to be committed and willing to put in the hard work. Saying and not doing is a waste of time and talent of all involved. Are you committed to change? I have personally found this to be extremely hard for the “do it yourselfers”. They work from a reference that no one else can do something as well as them. They have a very hard time accepting that different roles require different skills and natural talents. Every successful person I have studied is very good at delegating responsibility and authority to others who are smarter and more gifted than themselves. DIY’s are very challenged in this delegation skill.
Included here is an example of what I mean: Natural Strength Grid. It is inspired by the book Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Kathy Kolbe’s work
|NATURAL STRENGTH GRID||Detail Hungry||Follow Through||Handles Rapid Changes||Sees Patterns Easily|
This lists four critical roles for a company. They are listed vertically in the first column. Horizontally are broad descriptions of natural skills, largely inspired by reading Kathy Kolbe’s books.
Let me demonstrate with two roles, Visionary and Integrator (see Rocket Fuel).
Visionary is usually the dreamer. They can come up with more ideas than money and staff can handle. Depending upon the business, these are usually the founders. Henry Ford is a role to evaluate here. He exhibited the ability to handle rapid changes as he came up with the assembly line (he was able to see patterns easily). Yet he was very reluctant to change from producing the Model A, even though market intelligence was saying a better model would sell more cars (he was not as detail hungry as the integrator), nor was he insistent in follow through. In my experience, most visionaries get bored quickly. Once they conquer a problem, they dream up new opportunities; getting actual output (getting things done) is the responsibility of the integrator.
Integrators tend to be stronger on the first two horizontal strengths, detail hungry and higher follow through. Visionaries tend to lean more to the right two, handling rapid changes and patterns, working out the details of processes and “manufacturing” that include receiving material or inflows. Adding value and transporting the results out to the consumer of these products and services requires skills unique to integrators. In my professional life, I have always observed it takes these two critical roles to have a company succeed. One person cannot be all things to everyone.
Closers are necessary to get the orders. Relationship builders must maintain and respond to issues as they arrive in the day to day operations. So, when seeking to achieve goals using business advisors, it is vital to identify the obstacles and strategy to resolve, coupled with expected pay off for success, thinking horizontally, yet recognizing that you are dealing with vertical roles that have different natural strengths.
Want an example of success? Contact us. This is inspired by various real-life examples told in a parable format. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule a time for further conversations.
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