When I work with teams, one of the first things we teach is a concept called hitting the ceiling. It’s that feeling of getting stuck or something that’s holding you back. Naturally, when you hit the ceiling, it’s frustrating to all.
You want to break through, but you can’t. The concept of hitting the ceiling, however, is a problem you must learn to solve because it can happen to you, your team, or your company.
5 Leadership Abilities
The best way to break through the ceiling is to apply these five leadership abilities:
1. Simplify — Things can get complicated fast. So ask yourself, am I making this too complicated? How can I dumb it down or apply the KISS (keep it simple stupid) rule? People and systems can complicate things quickly, so we have to simplify processes.
2. Delegate — Are you doing too much, or is someone doing too much? You have to master the art of delegation to free up your time along with your best thinkers. Who can you ask to help, and is that person qualified? New help can be inside or outside the company. We’ll always be too busy if we don’t let go of the vine and learn the art of getting help. If you’re the type that declares, “By the time I tell you, I could do it myself,” you need to pay attention. Over a lifetime, those tasks add up. Yes, someone else can do that task just as good or better than you. Leaders should be delegating one to two projects a quarter to the people on their teams. If you have no one to delegate to, it might be time to talk to your boss about hiring the help you need.
3. Predict — Are you completing the tasks you said you would? Are you and your team holding each other accountable for those tasks? There are two types of predicting; short-term (seven days or less) and long-term (90 days or more). You should be good at both. Breakdowns occur fast when predicting isn’t accurate; reliability starts to dwindle, and lack of trust begins to build.
4. Systemize — Are you operationalizing your business so you can deliver consistent product/service quality and scale? McDonald’s figured this out long ago. Systemizing involves creating checklists that define your core processes. In turn, every employee must follow your core processes so that if one person leaves, others can step in and make that same “secret sauce” every time. Conversely, if everyone is doing it their way, bad things will eventually happen. Systemizing your business allows you to create consistency and peace of mind while making it easier to manage. In the process, you’ll make your job more fun and achieve higher profits.
5. Structure — Do you have the right organizational structure or the people around you to succeed? Sometimes companies have to look at their processes and then restructure where people sit. You have to reorganize. In the Entrepreneurial Operating System™, we call your structure the Accountability Chart™. It’s an organizational chart on steroids. We don’t care about titles and hierarchy as much as we care about job functions and the roles each function owns. Your structure is a living document that goes six to 12 months as the optimal structure for your organization. With EOS, we always advise leaders to focus on structure first. Indeed, never build your organization around people. Finally, when you get stuck, there will be times when you’ll need to restructure your organization.
With these five leadership abilities, you should be able to solve most of your issues when you get stuck. You may need all five abilities to break through, but most of the time, you’ll only need to tweak one or two. However, if you don’t pay attention to all five, your business will eventually hit the ceiling.
What are you stuck on these days? Give the five leadership abilities a try and see what happens.