Intense Pressure to Deliver Results!

authentic leadership authority buy-in ethical influence executive leadership council influence leadership leadership in management management mentorship metrics results supervisor team leadership Oct 12, 2021
Executive Leadership Council

I remember a Friday evening phone call a few years back with a friend who was serving as CEO for a locally owned company that was experiencing almost unbelievable growth. He had been very tuned into the topline and bottomline revenue the entire time I knew him. I had also seen firsthand how effective he was at developing relationships with the customers and clients his organization served. In spite of all the growth and how great he was at connecting with folks outside the organization, about half of the managers who reported directly to him were ready to throw him overboard. As our discussion moved to some of the challenges he was dealing with inside the organization, he made a statement that I don’t think I’ll ever forget: “My job is to grow the business. I don’t have time for all that touchy-feely stuff!”

I closed last time by referencing how frequently business owners and executives have typically face intense pressure to deliver results. Whether that pressure comes from making sure payroll is covered from week to week in a small or medium size business or from making sure the quarterly earnings statement meets shareholder expectations, I don’t think I’ve met an executive who had the luxury of not keeping a close eye on production numbers or overall productivity within their organization. And I suppose it’s those close ties to processes and procedures that have resulted in many of the business owners and high level managers I’ve known coming from either a strong technical or a strong financial background…

Don’t get me wrong here, each of those things I just listed are absolutely critical to an organization’s success. Contrary to what seems to have become a popular belief, nothing lasts very long when more money is being spent than made; not a personal bank account, not a business, or even a country! Therefore, someone had better be keeping a keen eye on each of those metrics. 

But businesses don’t operate with only machines and widgets! Every company I’ve ever been around has had a huge need for one other specific resource - and many will compete heavily for those same resources regardless of the industry they’re in…

I believe it was Henry Ford who said, “Why is it that when I only need to hire the man’s hands to do a job, I always end up dealing with the whole person?” Much like many of the business owners and high level managers I’ve known, Ford had an incredible technical background. If you’ve read much about him though, it’s not hard to see why he would make a statement like that. He didn’t seem to put much stock into that touchy-feely stuff either…

I can’t point to one single cause for the pressure that causes an owner or executive to focus almost entirely on X’s and O’s. I believe it could be a combination of several things; their often strong technical backgrounds, the constant push to achieve financial results, and even a heavy cultural focus on both of those things while almost completely ignoring the actual culture of the organization. But if we have conferences, organizations, and even councils that focus on every other aspect of a given trade or industry, wouldn’t it make sense to have something that’s equally focused on providing the resources those folks need to truly LEAD their teams in a way that creates a culture where all of those other metrics are better because the people involved in reaching them are bought in and engaged?

I sure think so, and I’ll share some ways that can happen next time.