241 - 4 Signs Your Organization Is Outgrowing Your Leadership Skills - John Laurito

241 – 4 Signs Your Organization Is Outgrowing Your Leadership Skills

As a business owner or leader, you want your business to keep up with the times. But what if your leadership skills are not? That’s a hard pill to swallow, right? In this episode, host John Laurito shares the signs that your leadership skills are not keeping up with your organizational needs. Ultimately, as a leader, you want to continue to up your skill in order to keep up with the demands of your business. At the end of the day, you do not want to be the bottleneck of the company’s growth.

[0:00] Intro

[0:26] A scary thought for a leader

[2:06] Sign #1: You’re still doing the things you did years ago

[6:05] Sign #2: You’re top people start leaving

[7:23] Sign #3: You’re oftentimes solving new problems with old solutions

[9:41] Sign #4: Everyone agrees

[14:00] Outro

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been in an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership, what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large over the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! 

John All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related to leading yourself and leading others, I am John Laurito your host. Welcome to the show today. I’ve got a few things I want to talk about today. So first of all, my topic today is signs that you know your organization is starting to or has already outgrown your leadership skills. Now, as a leader, this is a really scary thought. Nobody wants to think that their organization is outgrowing them. That just has such a negative connotation to it. 

John Then as a leader, we’ve got to be in a position to take our organization to the heights that we want to. And you see this, unfortunately, all the time, they’ll leaders become ill-equipped or don’t have the skill sets to really take their organization to where it can go. You see leaders that have or people that have invented products or services, and they have enough to kind of take it off the ground and get into a certain spot and then somebody else has to take it from there, which is OK. But there are many people that don’t want that concept of passing off, handing over the reins to someone else. So I want to talk about what are the signs, what are kind of the early warning signs that your organization is outgrowing you, and the answer? 

John Obviously, I’m hoping that this is obvious is not that, hey, I want to pull the reins in and stop the organization from growing that fast. I need to look at it and say, What do I need to do to equip myself to take the organization to the next level? I talk about the biggest restriction a lot. What’s the biggest restriction in your organization? And I’ve got a couple of episodes coming up giving some examples of this, but you don’t want the biggest restriction to be you. You do not want yourself to be the handicapper. The thing that’s slowing that organization down from reaching its potential and getting to where it needs to get to and ultimately having the impact that it needs to have. So I want to talk about what are some of the signs, what are some of the things you can do? 

John And this myself, when I was running organizations, there were times where I saw certain things like this happening and I realized, OK, I need to expand, I need to develop. I need to pull new people in to help me develop, to help the organization. And it always, when I did, that proved to be a great decision. So, OK, I’m going to start with what is not one of the signs that you probably think is the sign, because I would venture a guess that you equate this with. I’m now less effective or less skilled, and that is what your temptation is going to be to think that the sign that your organization is outgrowing your leadership skills is the fact that fewer and fewer people are coming to you, and that is absolutely not the case. 

John Now I’m not saying that can never be the case, but that’s usually not the case when people are not coming to you for certain things that they might have been before. A lot of times it’s for different reasons, which we can cover in another episode. But it’s not necessarily because you are not as skilled or the organization is outgrowing you. Because what I find is that more times than not, that leader that is the type that is not growing fast enough is keeping people or kind of creating a dependency on him or her. That’s part of the problem is that everything needs to come to him or her. 

John So if you still see that happen, everybody still coming to you don’t assume that, OK, well, everything’s great and I haven’t outgrown mine. This place does not have grown mind that my skills that is not one of the signs. So let’s go through what the signs are. First of all, one of the things is if you’re doing the same things that you were doing two years ago, that’s one sign and these are in no particular order. So, for example, your organization has grown, it’s changed. It’s evolved. Your processes have changed the economy, the marketplace, the competitive environment, everything has changed. Our society has changed. 

John I mean, think about this now. You may be listening to this in 2030, but this now, today is 2020 to early 2020 to this. These last couple of years has been a game-changer, they have been totally transformational. So if you are doing the same things and I’m not talking about pre-pandemic, but I’m talking about if over the last two years, as your organization has grown, if you as the CEO or is this business leader are doing the same things, running the same kind of schedule, you know, running the same kinds of meetings, making the same kinds of decisions. 

John That’s a big sign. Now your answer can’t be well, my schedule looks a lot different because I’m working a ton more hours now, not the answer. I’m going to push back on you on that challenge because ultimately then the capacity is you. So how many hours can you work? You may have gone from working 50 to 60 to 70 to 80. OK, so where does that end? That’s not healthy, and you know it, and that’s there are all kinds of problems with that. But if your answer is hey, as the organization has grown up, just taking on more hours now doesn’t work again. 

John Simple math formula tells you that there’s a capacity to that, and your organization is going to be hampered by that. So that sign number one, if you’re doing the same things that you were doing a year or two or three years ago and your job duties, responsibilities, everything you’re touching, your rhythm, your cadence for the week feels and looks the same. That is sign number one. You should be changing as your organization changes. Your role should look very, very different as your organization grows and changes, it truly should look different. 

John  In reality, the captain of a sailboat is not doing the same thing as the captain of a cruise ship. As you know, obviously, here’s sign number two. Sign number two is that you’ve got top people. And what I mean by top people is those eight players are really strong people that you want in your organization. You’re seeing them start to leave. Now, this is a really tough one because of course, they’re going to be. A lot of it can be a lot of different reasons for that. You may have other firms recruiting them or they’re just looking for different changes and paths. 

John But oftentimes what I see as the reason top people are leaving is that they are not growing. They are not making the biggest impact that they know that they can. And oftentimes that’s because of this very problem. You, as the leader, may still be holding on to too much stuff. You got your arms wrapped around too much stuff, right? In which case that doesn’t serve anybody well, that doesn’t serve you well, doesn’t serve the company, the shareholders, and it doesn’t serve your top people well when they see you reluctant to give up, control and empower them with more decision making, more role and responsibility and scope and influence, then that becomes really a bleak picture. And they don’t want to stay. 

John They just don’t because they know they can go somewhere else to get fulfilled and get their cup filled, so to speak, by going to another opportunity. And that’s a fact of the matter is that’s one of the signs that sign number two here is sign number three, that you are constantly or oftentimes answering new problems with old answers and old solutions. So you’re kind of coming back to the same solutions over and over again that you did back a year or two or three or four years, you’re not looking at new problems through a new lens or with new experience, so this is the thing. 

John Oftentimes our problem-solving in our creativity and ideas come from new experiences. We’re stretching our comfort zone, we’re doing things differently and because of that, we see different things. You know, it’s like if I’m standing on the shoreline, I have a certain vantage point of that lake, right? I’m looking out at the lake, I’m looking at. I see trees, I see houses. But when I jump in a boat and I go in in the middle of the lake, I see things totally different. I see different parts of that, that lake and the surroundings that I never saw before. Certain things become closer and more in in in vision and focus, rather and other things. I just see that I just couldn’t possibly see. So that is analogous to you leading your organization. 

John If you’re still in the same spot, so to speak, you’re just your perspective is still the same. You’ve got to take on new roles, new responsibilities and to my prior point, as your role changes and your experiences change as a leader and your skill sets change, you will also see different solutions that you did not see before. And this is one of the best and biggest reasons why you want to have a coach. You want to be working with someone that’s ideally even outside not only your company, but even outside your industry, or at least has experience outside your industry because it is unbelievable. 

John I could work with somebody, a business leader that’s had a problem that they’ve been mulling over for months and months, and oftentimes within a few minutes, I can propose a solution that makes sense that might even be the best solution they’ve come up with. And it’s not a credit so much to me as it is just the fact that I’m coming in with a whole different perspective and tons of different experience that they don’t have different experience with different organizations and different leaders. 

John That’s one of the values that you have to work with somebody outside your organization and outside your own brain, so to speak. And here’s the last thing look, a fourth sign that your organization may be outgrowing your leadership skills is that everyone agrees there are nice and happy. Everybody nods their head. Yes, that makes sense. I’m not saying that we don’t want a nice, happy workplace. Of course, we do. Culture is so critical. Important. But if you don’t have a healthy amount of conflict and disagreement among your team, especially your leadership team, then there’s a problem. Big time. 

John There is a problem and it’s a fire in the walls and you just may not even know. You may not even realize it because it feels good. And believe me, I’ve been there. I remember leading leadership teams where we come out of a meeting. I’m like, God, that felt good. And then I realized, You know what? We didn’t have any kind of debate. No. Everybody just agreed on everything was smooth. I’m like, That wasn’t a really good leadership meeting and time, if that goes on for a long period of time, you’re just you’re building your leadership team with the same type of brain, the same type of mindset, the same type of personality, the best leadership team, the best organizations I’ve seen. 

John There’s some level of discomfort almost sometimes in those leadership meetings right there. They’re challenging each other. They’re debating things. They’re not looking at things just for the sake of why someone is going to work, but they’re really, truly breaking it down and saying, Why is this not going to work? What’s the potential downside to doing this? What are all the other options? Let’s take a look at this other option, really. Let’s stretch it and pull it and look at it from a different direction. Then they’re challenging each other. There’s mutual respect. They’re not doing it in a disrespectful way. 

John There’s mutual respect and if not even more, because when you get off, sometimes you know you’ve seen and you know, sometimes you see in like UFC fights or boxing matches, I mean, they hug afterward, right? They battle it out in the ring and then they hug and they embrace each other because there’s this mutual respect and admiration and love. You know, we’re not physically fighting in these meetings and it’s really not fighting. It’s healthy to debate in an organization. So that’s the other sign that the organization is outgrowing you, is if you breed an environment of just like-minded people. Everybody is the same, everybody’s agreeing. 

John It’s OK to have a degree of like-mindedness. But when it’s too much again and hold your organization back and you as the leader are the one in charge of bringing in those different mindsets and building the bring it building the bench and bringing those personalities in that are going to kind of challenge each other and everything like that. Those are the best teams that I’ve seen. OK. So again, those four sides and the one that’s not here’s one of again, just a summary. The one that’s not a sign that you think is, is that you are being your organization is growing fast and then your leadership skills. It is not that people stop coming to you. ]. 

John Nope, that’s not it. Here are the four sides. One is you’re doing the same things that you were doing two years ago, three years ago, a year ago, or just simply working more hours, but doing the same things. And that’s one sign. Second, sign your top people are leaving. OK, whatever do. Gary, your top people should not be leaving, certainly not on a regular basis. Third is that you are constantly proposing old solutions to new problems, going back to what has only worked in the past. And that is a sign that you’re just not growing. Your experience is not expanding. You’re not your vision and your perspective is not changing. And then the fourth is that everybody agrees all the time. Everybody nods their head. You don’t have healthy conflict in your organization and certainly among the leaders. 

John So in any event, I hope that helps because I think more than anything, leaders need to be able to see signs of things that are coming. It’s not when you’re in the moment and it’s smacking you in the face, but a great leader is really good at looking forward and saying, OK, here’s what’s happening. And I see a problem and I need to fix it. And here is where an opportunity I need to take advantage of it. It’s forward-thinking, kind of seen around the corner. 

John So if I can help, let me know. Please, I’m here for you. As always, like, subscribe, share. I always appreciate your ideas and suggestions for future content as well as guests. I’ve had some great ones on recently. I’ve got some great ones coming up. And of course, go down below. Give a five-star review and I will see you soon. Take care. Bye. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at Joh@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!

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