Don’t frustrate your team with innovation. I was working with a client recently who was frustrated with her team. But upon talking through the situation, we realized that she was the one actually causing the frustration. You see, like many entrepreneurs, she is an innovator. However at this point in her business, she cannot focus on innovation like she used to in the past.
My client is dealing with some changes in her industry due to COVID. She has a great business that has transitioned from the startup phase to the growth phase. But what she is doing is having weekly meetings and throwing out 5-6 ideas in each meeting. “We should do this, we should do that, we should pivot here, what about this?” It’s constant. And her team, rightly so, because they are the implementors, they are asking her two basic questions: How do you want to do this and which one should we tackle first?
Now remember, she is the CEO so she is the person giving the direction to this team. Yet, she is frustrated and angry. Why? There are two reasons. First, she is an innovator at heart. Innovators want to spend their time coming up with good ideas, they don’t want to get down into the weeds to figure out how to do them. Second, the reality is that she is frustrated with her team because they continue to put her on the spot with their questions and the reality is that she doesn’t know the answers to their questions.
None of us have the answers to everything. And that’s OK. But the reality, and what I shared with my client, is that she is causing this problem. Her productivity framework isn’t in check for the phase of business she is in. In a startup, it was constant innovation and pivoting. Now in the growth phase, it’s growing and slight adjustments to make that happen. If she wants to be an innovator, that’ fine, to a degree. But she has to keep her team focused within their productivity framework. Which means, she needs to adjust her priorities to focus on growing her business not innovating new pieces of it. She also needs to not share all of her ideas to then derail her team.
Don’t frustrate your team with innovation. Understand where your business is in the process of growth, know what you should be focused on and what they need to focus on, and ensure your behavior and leadership align with that.