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Leading the Organization That Survives: Don't be a STIFFNECK

How do you know you’re a leader? “Well, if you look behind you, you will find people following you!” says author and Dean at Regent University, Bruce Winston, PhD in his CD “Tabletalk”. He goes on to say, ” if nobody is following you, then you aren’t a leader. It’s as simple as that.”

If you want people to follow you, they need to know that you can make GREAT DECISIONS! Does that mean that all of them will be right? No! Must they all make sense? Yes! Does this apply to every leader? Yes! Running a business, no matter the size, requires a great number of decisions to be made, every day, such as:

  • Do we start a new marketing campaign
  • Has this product reached the end of its lifecycle?
  • Should we consider offering this customer a discount?
  • Should we spin off this business unit?

As a business leader, you are the one who must make those decisions. To be successful as a leader, you need to be able to make a lot of decision, effectively – which means that while every single decision may not be the right one, you’ve got plausible tools to be able to make that decision. In our line of work, we’ve discovered four ingredients leaders must have in order to make a good decision for the business:

  1. A passion for what is possibleclip_image002
  2. A commitment to managing priorities
  3. Reliable information or a reliable information source
  4. Courage to assume risk

The alternative, of course, to having the ammo to make the best decisions is to be a STIFFNECK. Let me explain:

Stiffnecks – def.: 1) Leaders that try to make decisions without considering the overall business – the business as a system, and thus, the rippling consequence3s of said decision or decisions on all areas of the business. 2) Leaders who have every opportunity and all of the resources to make good decisions, but allow themselves to get sidetracked before addressing issues that have greater priority for the business.

For example:

If you are trying to expand your business, but don’t have clear understanding off what you are selling or who your target market is, you’re probably a stiffneck.

If you get a shiny new Hummer for the company, but aren’t making the basic operating expenses for your company, you’re probably a stiffneck.

If you jump at every opportunity – every shiny new thing – and never take the time to focus on and fully develop one, you’re probably a stiffneck.

If you do the same things over and over again, but never bother to establish a process for it, you’re probably a stiffneck.

The simplest and most straight-forward remedy for this is – don’t be a stiffneck!!

While this seems straightforward, new candidates for the stiffneck category enter the business world every day, often with catastrophic results. Simply taking the time to go through the decision-making process could often put business leaders in a much better position with their company, and allow them to lead their companies to new heights.

Over the next few blogs, we’ll go through each tool necessary in the decision-making process in order to equip you with the strategy to manage the decisions for your company. We’ll talk about the difference between pipe-dreams and possibilities, what priorities for your business are, how to manage information valuable for your company, how to determine what acceptable risk looks like for you, and the necessity of follow-through.

Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there. We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning. As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions. If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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