I have a distinct teenage memory of attending classical music concerts with my father. I’ve attended dozens of concerts, and truth be told (hopefully my father isn’t reading this), I was never a huge classical music fan.
I went because it was an opportunity for me to spend time with my father. Although I haven’t been to a classical music concert in years, I do have a vivid memory of being in awe at the gracefulness of the conductor, who can shape the music with subtle gestures.
It’s the conductor’s role to interpret and shape the music’s tempo, repetitions of sections, and articulation. A slight twist of the hand, and the violin tempo increases, and a movement the other way, the volume of the French horn decreases.
The conductor envisions, and the musicians play. Together, they make a concert. It takes the effort of all the musicians, coordinated, to play in harmony and create a masterpiece. Individually, you have an awesome violinist. Played together, they make a concert.
You Are Your Business’s Leader, and Maybe Why Your Business Isn’t Succeeding
As the leader of your team or company, you are the conductor.
You might also be the reason why your business isn’t succeeding.
It’s your role to envision the end result and to ensure that all the musicians are playing together, in harmony, to create that masterpiece.
Most business owners are challenged by sales and marketing. I’ve often said that if you can figure out the marketing part of the business, the rest will look after itself. And although that might be true to some extent, running a business is always about making sure that the entire team is playing in harmony.
If marketing is working, the leads are flowing and the sales team is closing the business at a fast and furious pace. It’s important that the operations end of the business keeps pace. If operations can’t keep up, and accounting or service becomes a bottleneck, then the music isn’t played in harmony.
Just as a poor marketing or sales team can kill a business, the same holds true with operations.
No sales, no business. Poor operations, no business.
What Is Your Strength?
There’s an important business concept, one that I’ve written about before, called the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle was developed by Laurence Peter, who noticed that people in an organization rise to their “level of incompetence.”
It often takes an event or person to make you realize that either you or one of your staff have hit their ceiling. From what I’ve observed in running my business and working with other entrepreneurs, there are often multiple Peter Principle issues battling inside an organization.
Think about it.
You have a staff member that you’re really happy with. They’re exceeding your expectations and delivering on all fronts. Customers and co-workers are happy with their work, and the staff member is well-liked by their peers.
It’s time for a review for the staff member.
During the review, the staff member mentions that they’re interested in moving into a management position, and although they have never managed people before, they suggest that they’re ready for the challenge.
Your new manager once again exceeds expectations in their new role, and once again, they’re promoted. They continue to get promoted, up until the point where they struggle in the role. As Peter suggests, they rise to their level of incompetence, at which point they’re stuck. Peter calls this the “final placement,” but it is better known as Peter’s Plateau.
Peter contends that the employee, once they realize that they’re incompetent in their role, will grow increasingly frustrated in the position, which results in the end in an unmotivated and potentially less productive employee.
The Owner Growing Beyond the Ceiling
The Peter Principle applies to everyone, business owner and team member alike, of course. The point of this post isn’t to address how you can fix this from a management perspective but rather to make you aware of how the growth of your business could be impacted by your inability to manage beyond your ceiling. In other words, you might be the reason why your business isn’t succeeding.
If your revenues or profits are stagnant, or worse declining, the problem is likely something that the business owner is doing wrong. You are the conductor of your classical music concert, and it’s your role to understand your strengths and weaknesses and, in turn, why your team isn’t succeeding.
Sometimes it takes an outside force, person, influence, or factor to jolt you into recognizing that you, the business owner, could be your business’s problem, and why your business isn’t succeeding.
Maybe it’s time to look at what you’re doing wrong or seek outside assistance from a coach or consultant to help you be objective about what ails your business.
See yourself as the conductor of the concert. It’s your role to make the music play in harmony, but you might need to be objective about why the music isn’t sounding right.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this one: Profit Isn’t a Disease. It’s the By-Product of a Well-Run Company. If You’re Not Yet Profitable, Fix It or Get a Job.
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Also, I published a book during the summer of 2018, “The Kickass Entrepreneur’s Guide to Investing, Three Simple Steps to Create Massive Wealth with Your Business’s Profits.” It was number 1 on Amazon in both the business and non-fiction sections. You can get a free copy here.