Too Busy To Lead? - TurnAround Executive Coaching


Many of the leaders that I meet know that they are anxious about next steps, discouraged that things haven’t moved forward, or worried about changes in funding. What they are not worried about is no time to lead. As Jean said to me, ‘I’ve got so much work to do that I’m busy constantly and I hope staff see that and realize that I’m leading by example.’ Jorge told me, ‘Ron, we aren’t moving forward. Tell me what to do. I don’t have time for talk.’ There are many planning methods but leaders need strategic results in Abundant Cash, Flawless Execution, Strategy, and Right People!

If you feel the same, I sympathize with your feelings. Do you have 8 minutes to try some free coaching? I’ll ask 4 questions and you should write them down and ask your leadership team to do the same.

Since you’re still watching, let’s get started

There are many strategic planning methods but in all methods the leadership has to make 4 decisions, These 4 decisions cover nonprofits, government and for profit companies big and small. I’ll start with the decision that causes the most pain for everyone = leaders, staff, clients, and stakeholders.

It’s a decision about your cash

Are you comfortable with your cash and reports or are you worrying about a lack of cash or afraid that you don’t understand the reports?

Most leaders delay leadership until they have a cash problem. I speak from bitter experience to say that it’s a terrible moment when you have to announce a delay in payroll. Some of your best people may leave and you end up with staff that couldn’t find work elsewhere.

I teach a 4 point formula that gives the leadership team and board an easy way to see at any time whether there is enough cash so that you can lead without distraction.

Cash is the most urgent of decisions when you don’t have enough. In Scaling Up coaching, we work with clients to find 90 days of cash so that we can get a quick win in the next 90 days and turn things around

After the cash decision, How is your strategy doing?

Are any of your programs getting weaker this year than last year? Don’t bring in as many clients or cash or results? Clients create inertia for strategy. Your strategy may be failing terribly but at least one client will defend it. Have you noticed how many big companies fail at strategy? Sears, Kmart, Yahoo? Each of those companies had bad strategy but some clients who liked things the way that they are.

Coaching has a planned approach to strategy. I’ve done long range planning all of my professional career but never with a particular approach. It was 2-3 days a year in wonderful discussions that changed very little. Coaching will not be a specialist in your industry but the coach asks questions to re-arrange your expertise for a strong strategy.

Cash, Strategy, and then How is your execution doing?

Are you spending less time this year fixing problems or does it take a lot of your week to apologize or repair something that a staff member did wrong. Staff create inertia for Execution. Are you seeing a pattern here? Clients create inertia in strategy. Staff create inertia for Execution. Staff can be set in their ways. It can create headaches for leadership, waste time and money and still be hard to change.

Leaders can get caught in flawed execution because it plays to our vanities to rush in and save a situation. It’s also much easier than our real job as leaders to manage all 4 decisions.

Coaching helps you to decide which processes are key to effectiveness and which ones to forget in the short term

Do you have the right people on your team so that things will be better next year?

The last of the four decisions – Cash, Strategy, Execution and People. Why is the People decision last? Because People is the hardest decision and the most important decision for the long term. Who creates inertia? I’ll leave you to guess. There is nothing more painful than rearranging the team for more impact or more growth. It’s a wrenching moment to accept that the team who got you here won’t get you there.

Coaching is confidential with one leader – usually the Executive Director. It’s needed because the People decision is often dangerous to share and impossible to share with other leaders on the team. Loneliness in leadership usually comes from the People Decision.

If you’re too busy to lead, you have to take small steps in the 4 decisions. The coach helps you to plan rearrangement of the 4 decisions to make sure you get abundant cash, work with the team on sustainable strategy, improve flawless execution and state clearly what skills and experience will be needed in leaders to make the next steps.

There are many Strategic Planning systems but only the TurnAround Performance Platform promises results. It starts with the Scaling Up One Page Strategic Plan. This keeps a simple page of all the decisions you make on strategy. There are two demands to be met with plans, processes with relationships and results with impact and cash. There are three disciplines that guide the daily and weekly activity of sticking to a priority, collecting data, and using a 5 beat system of communication and accountability. Finally everything is tested by the 4 decisions you met today – Right People, Sustainable Strategy, Flawless Execution, and Abundant Cash. If you work with me as the coach, my promises to you are a surplus, cash in the bank, time for leadership and measurable impact.

I’m Dr. Ron Tompkins of TurnAround NonProfit Coaching and I invite you to contact me and explore the next steps. Contact me Here

Gazelles Social Sector Scaling Up

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