When we talk about the word “permission”, what comes to mind? A piece of paper pinned to your shirt ready to be signed by your parent before a field trip? Or your kid asking to borrow the car to go to a friend’s house?
We rarely think about permission in the context of leadership and entrepreneurship. Permission is actually a tool that, when consciously utilized and communicated, can elevate an entrepreneur’s productivity, effectiveness, and ultimately, their happiness. After all, that’s what matters, isn’t it?
The fact is that Entrepreneurs do a lot. They take on a lot. They own a lot of responsibilities. Why? Because they are the only person with everything to lose if their business fails. So naturally, they are going to take on everything that will allow their businesses to not only grow, but to be culturally and financially healthy, competitive, and innovative. Ironically though, those activities often take the Entrepreneur away from the things that they do best, because things exist that they HAVE TO DO in order to grow. This constant conflict can drive an Entrepreneur crazy. Over time, it can make them question if they really have any of the “freedom” that they hoped for when they chose the path of entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, many Entrepreneurs will forego the things that they do best or bring the most value to the business in order to do the things that they assume they have to be the one to do. This is where growth trajectories stall out and where many Entrepreneurs find themselves 2 years, 5 years, and even 10 years after starting their business.
Years ago, I used to fantasize about a magical person who would swoop down, build and maintain my company culture, align my employees about the future, cast a spell on people to start being more innovative and solve bigger problems, fire bad employees, and do all of the things that take up the cavernous pit in my brain that weighed me down to the ground every day. Mind you, I never had to wish for someone to grow the business, create new products and services, develop strategy, and differentiate our company in the market. That was easy (and FUN)! It was all of the more nebulous things that I longed for someone to care about, to take on, and to feel a sense of ownership. These were not things that would be in anyone’s job description. They were things that reflected a mindset and an understanding of things beyond what the business actually “does for a living”.
Then it happened. I wished out loud one day. I was sitting in my office having a conversation with my COO about a staff issue I was concerned about, and wanted to get his feedback on whether he thought the person should be terminated. Then it happened. In my typical sarcastic, teasing way, I said, “Feel free to worry about this stuff too!” Ok, maybe it was passive aggressive.
He had a somewhat confused look on his face and said, “Well, I never realized you wanted me to do that. I thought that was kinda your thing.”
“NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.” Sigh. “No”.
And my world changed. It was then that I realized that because Entrepreneurs are confident, assertive, and push forward with their chins up, without missing a beat, that our behaviors are often misconstrued as enjoyment of whatever we are doing. We do things because we have to. It’s like picking up my dog’s poop in the back yard. Do you think I LIKE to pick up poop? No. I do it because otherwise I’ll step in it. And I probably do it with smile.
There are so many things that we as Entrepreneurs simply take on because we have to. And guess what! Something that we “have to” do can easily be something that an employee “gets to do” if you simply give them permission to. I have seen this transformation happen within minutes when I work with Entrepreneurs and their Master Key Executives. It is an amazing revelation that transforms not only their relationship and the Master Key’s feeling of empowerment, but it frees up that place in the Entrepreneur’s brain that creates noise, allowing them to spend their time and energy doing what brings the most value to the company while knowing that someone else now has their back and has ownership over the important things that would otherwise bog them down.a
To learn more about how to empower your Master Key Executive to understand and feel ownership of the things that keep you up at night, CONTACT US to request a free tool