Determining the right direction for growth, navigating uncharted waters, and identifying how best to handle those hard decisions are challenges a senior leader faces. For some, becoming excited about the business again, celebrating victories, and realizing the potential for growth can become just as important. Many senior leaders experience the challenge of knowing where to go and who to turn to when these issues arise. Confidentiality, an independent perspective, and an honest sounding board can be difficult for a senior leader to find, trust, and utilize. It may be a cliché, but there’s truth in the statement “it can be lonely at the top.” Throughout my many years of business ownership, I’ve experienced a litany of challenges – ranging from great opportunities to nightmares; rarely did I encounter an environment where I could hash these challenges out openly and honestly. I had to keep it inside, suck it up, and deal with it.
This program is specifically designed to avoid the pitfalls senior leaders may face. These pitfalls can take shape when one is too close to the situation, received opinionated or poor advice, or if advisors continue to be stuck by looking at an issue from the same old perspective. A quality advisor not only has to be a trusted confidant, but they also must be willing, when needed, to “go there” and let the emperor know he has no clothes.
Most senior leaders have a network of friends, colleagues, professional advisors or even a gallant spouse on which they can lean. The challenge with this can come in several forms. First, the leader often doesn’t want to take advantage of a relationship and “dump” a bunch of issues on a friend. In some cases, the leader may be embarrassed, worried, or afraid to talk to this network because things may not be as rosy as outsiders believe. On the flipside, as the receiver of this information, a person can be flattered by becoming a confidant. However, in virtually all cases, these people tire, become disinterested, frustrated, or have some sort of dog in the fight. Are you going to talk to your banker about an accounts receivable issue and if so, whose interest will s/he have in mind? Can you talk about your frustration with your business partner? Do you really want to talk to your spouse about that embarrassing HR issue you’re facing?
There’s immense value in creating a confidential, open, and honest environment in which a leader can talk through a potential issue with hard questions asked. Perspectives, motivations, and assumptions will be challenged. Without this sort of environment, leaders won’t always see the blind spots, threats, and opportunities. Having an independent set of eyes can help the leader ensure they’re seeing clearly, making the right decisions, and feeling comfortable that things will work out.
This support may come in many different forms, such as:
- Confidential conversations
- Strategic direction planning
- Growth plans
- Personnel issues
- Work/life balance
- Transition strategies
- Personal goal setting
- Problem solving
- Dreaming bigger
- Really, it’s your call (what challenge are you facing?)
How It Works
We will meet in person or talk on the phone for one hour to see if there’s a fit, with no charge or expectations. Do we both feel we would be able to work together? Provided we both decide to move forward, we’d establish what an ongoing relationship would look like. This would likely look like a set call or meeting one to four times a month, along with several emails, calls, or texts between meetings as you feel is necessary. I’ve found there’s huge value in being able to have those brief calls when a specific issue is on my mind. If there are specific projects identified – great! We can outline them and make a plan, which may range from joining in on meetings to onsite visits or strategic planning events.
Yep, guaranteed. It’s that simple. I don’t want to be working with people I’m not providing value to nor folks who don’t value my contribution. With that in mind, there are no contracts or pre-established fee arrangements. We talk about it, work together, and at the end of each month, you make the call on what would be appropriate compensation for the contributions made that month. If you need us to provide an invoice or purchase order, we can work that out.