Most of the people with whom we work are already successful. They come to us because they are stuck. They have reached a ceiling of complexity. Recently, I have been having many conversations with our clients and pouring over coaching notes. We have been finding many insights on how to get better at what we do. (There are actually ten reasons. I will release the other five in a future blog.)
Here are five reasons many experienced entrepreneurs get stuck.
Stop doing the fundamentals
Many years ago, I taught and danced Salsa. At one point, I even joined a dance team. We were a group of more advanced dancers who wanted to get better. We came together to learn advanced moves. Almost certainly, one of us would struggle with a move. Whenever this happened, almost without exception, it was because there was a basic move that we had not mastered. This meant we needed to work on the basics. The first and most common reason entrepreneurs get stuck is that they stop doing the fundamentals.
Try to do too much
So many entrepreneurs have built their companies by rolling up their sleeves and doing what needs to get done. There comes a point when this strength is a liability. They need to start doing less to take it to the next level. They need to give up some things. This is where coaching can be so powerful. We have found that there is often an emotional reason they cannot let go. Most often, they hold the belief that if they let go of specific tasks, their world will come crashing down. One client of ours struggled to give up changing the paper in the printer. He genuinely believed that he did it best. To grow both professionally and personally, you need to narrow your focus. Experienced entrepreneurs often try to do too much. Not only are they bad at delegating, but they are afraid to delegate the things that will free them up to work at the highest level of their capability. Learning to do only those things that add the most value to the company is perhaps one of the best moves entrepreneurs can make.
Not having a trusted advisor or partner who challenges their decisions
Coaching is about supporting and challenging people to think and act in alignment with the future they wish to create. The most successful people I know have someone in their social circle who challenges their decisions and perspective. We need a mirror to help us see our blind spots. Too often, the people in our social circle lean too much on the side of support. We all need someone in our life who will help us see the flaws in our thinking. If you believe your thinking has no flaws, then you need to find that person as soon as possible.
Audit their systems and processes to see if they can be improved
Similar to getting back to fundamentals, it’s important to do an audit of your systems and processes. Often when we implement new systems, we have two challenges. The first is that technology is constantly changing. The second is that when we are implementing a new process, it’s often not about getting it right, but about doing it to the best of our ability. But we need to revisit our systems and update them so we can continuously improve. The question you want to be asking yourself is, can this be done in a better way? Take an audit of your systems and process and be clear on where you need to improve.
Don’t have a clear succession plan
What is your exit strategy? Often entrepreneurs, especially those who love what they do, believe they will never retire. Others are not sure if they can retire. Regardless of where they sit on the spectrum, most do not have a well-articulated succession plan. The original meaning of the word success means “come next after, follow after another; take the place of another, be elected or chosen for a position.” As we do more and more work on succession planning, it has become abundantly clear that planning for the long term is not an option; it’s a requirement.
I hope these five reasons are helpful. There are five more reasons for experienced entrepreneurs to get stuck that I will share in a subsequent blog posting.