As a business owner, it is hard not to want to sit at a press, do the process development, work the suppliers, or a hundred other things that need to be done day-to-day. The company represents a significant investment, as well as having an impact on my future finances.
That being said, I constantly remind myself that continued growth does not just apply to revenues. I as an owner, need to evolve my “contributions to success” just as I strive for that evolution in my people. PlastiCert’s mission statement dictates that we provide our customers expertise, in an environment that fosters personal growth and professional challenge. That applies to myself as much as it does my staff.
Evolving as a leader has focused on a number of areas, all geared at less direct hands on and more providing direction and framework. A number of efforts that I’ve undertaken to elevate my responsibilities include;
Investigating and learning about current events and issues in industries important to us and our customers. Looking at the bigger picture with regards to cause, effect and longer term ramifications. Assessing how these pertain to PlastiCert and do they reflect what we are doing whether good or bad. Integral to that is having a staff that is not afraid to tell “truth to power”. They need to inform me of what is happening, good and bad, and what steps are being taken to accentuate or diminish what they are experiencing. Way back when I started at PlastiCert as the Operations Manager, my first directive was to not just bring me problems, but also possible solutions also.
Secondly is expanding my horizons as an executive. Putting myself in positions to experience and share situations with other executives has been key to broadening the scope of my thinking. A CEO Peer Council has been quite helpful, as well as participating on numerous economic development initiatives, boards and volunteer opportunities.
Lastly would be the skills that the prior two activities have instilled that increased my ability to make decisions. More importantly than that, having learned to apply the correct temperament to the decision making situation. Emotion level, attitude and all feed into my staff taking action based on a conveyed degree of urgency and importance. The executive that screams all the time has a hard time conveying a different sense of urgency and over time will not be taken seriously when they most need to be. The other end of the spectrum results in your staff looking at you and saying, “oh, you were serious about that?”
The end game in all is is to assure our customers and potential customers that regardless of their service needs, our staff is prepared to deliver, whether I am there calling shots or not.