Look Before You Leap

“I’m Decisive.  I own this company and I am expected to make decisions.”  Is this you?  
Or does this sound familiar?  “You spend so much time trying to figure out what to do, that nothing gets done.  I didn’t hire you to sit around and do nothing”.
Jack was stunned as he listened to Julie and Robert.
Jack owns a very successful business.  Its been in the family for two generations before him, and his two children will carry it into the fourth generation.  Jack has already made that decision.   After all, Jack plans to retire someday, and as part of his exit strategy Julie and Robert will need to begin their preparations.  
Jack decided Julie should finish her degree in finance.  Her math skills are top notch, and she is at the top of her class in the business school.  Robert will need to apply himself more.  He will be taking over sales, because Robert is such a great people person, just like his grandfather.  Jacks dad Bill likes to stay involved, so Bill will be mentoring Robert in sales.  
Jack will require both Julie and Robert to spend some time at other business to learn more without the family ties and platform of favoritism.  Jack has already made those connections and arrangement with a few friends from his country club. 
Jack told his wife Susan that with these decisions, the retirement is in place, and his name on the door of this well known business will pass on to another generation.  “A perfect plan”, Jack said.
Susan agreed that the plan sounded wonderful.  Her vision of this business has always been for she and Jack to retire earlier than most of their friends, and begin to travel and enjoy a second home in a warmer climate.  In fact, Susan was in negotiations on the purchase of this second home in Arizona.
Jack engaged me to work with Julie and Robert.  He wanted my coaching expertise guiding them along as they finished college, worked a few years outside the company, and then began their careers in the family business.  
In my first meeting with Jack, he told me of the decisions he had made.  He was quite proud.  After all, he learned the importance of being Decisive after attending one of my seminars  focused on the twelve behaviors of the Rare Leader™.    Yes, Jack had learned pretty well.  He and Susan had their Vision as owners.  Jack had a natural Drive to Succeed, a Positive Outlook, and he was now displaying his Decisiveness.  He had also mastered several other behaviors of the Rare Leader™.  
However Jack missed the bell on the balance between Planning and Execution.  This is why I titled this program the Rare Leader™.  Great leaders may possess great skill levels in some or most of these behaviors, but it is very seldom (if ever) that someone can actually master a perfect score at all twelve behaviors of the Rare Leader™.  That is why I call it Rare.
I asked Jack about his planning process to have created this perfect plan.  Jack explained how easy this had been.  Considering his vision, the academic success of his children, and the ability to pass the business on to the next generation, there wasn’t much planning needed.  He saw the opportunity, and made the important decisions.
I asked Jack how Julie and Robert felt about the plan.  Jack told me how excited they both would be.  He knew they admired him, and shared the pride of the success and reputation of the family business.  I caught the words “would be” and paused, looking for words to place in my next delicate question.  So, Jack, as I understand you, Julie and Robert are not aware of your plan?  Have they not been involved in the planning?  “No, not yet” he answered, “but we’ll be telling them this morning when I introduce you to them”.
Jack was stunned as he listened to Julie and Robert.
Jack opened the meeting with his children very well.  “Have you each been thinking about your life after college”, he asked?(Remember the sage old advice, to not ask a question unless you know the answer?)  Jack had not anticipated Julie and Robert’s answer would be different than the answer he had already decided they would make.
Julie had come home this weekend to announce she was accepting an internship with a large financial research firm in New York.  Part of her excitement included the continued employment that typically is granted to successful interns.  Robert had thought very carefully about his education.  His aptitude scores helped him confirm his decision to follow his passion into Ministry.  He would be making his applications soon to seminary.
Jack was stunned…
Julie and Robert had grown up watching the anguish and fighting between uncles and aunts fighting over what their father Bill had built, only to see the older child Jack walk away with the reins to the family business.  Christmas was never the same any more.  Vacations were not spent with their cousins like the good old days.  They saw the tension and heartache of running a family business, and both Julie and Robert had decided long ago to never go into the family business and take a chance of hurting their own close relationship together.
Stunned…
What about working in the family business?  What about the fourth generation?  What about my Vision?  What about…
What about the planning portion of executing a decision?  
  1. Does your Decisiveness take you away from good Planning?
  2. Does your Planning include key partners affected by your Vision?
  3. What could Jack have done differently?
  4. What other behaviors of the Rare Leader™ should be exercised when discovering the fine balance between Planning and Execution?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://ovationleadership.com/look-before-you-leap/trackback/