One of the biggest challenges when you run your own business or even when you’re the leader of a larger team, is that very often you have two roles or ways of being. Each role is different and vital, but because they function so differently if you start to mix the two you’ll likely find yourself paralyzed with doubt and uncertainty. Here’s the make up of your two person team.
Role #1 – The leader or CEO
The job of the leader is to figure out a clear and compelling vision. The leader might generate the vision from themselves or source it from the team. How you get there doesn’t matter. What matters is that you see something that you want to create and it’s clear, compelling and meaningful to you (and your team if you have one).
Once the vision is set, the leader stands for that vision, plans for that vision, and enrolls others into that vision.
As time passes they need to notice what is and isn’t working, uncover the breakdowns, and shift the plan.
Role #2 – The doer or executer
Even if you’re fully a CEO, some of the work you do will be as a doer or executer
The job of the executor is to do the best job they can, based on their current understanding of the strategy and requirements that have been set forth by the vision.
If they run into problems they need to note and report them. They might come up with creative solutions, ideas for trying new things, and even lead their own efforts inside the context of doing.
They can still have the being of a leader and be standing for something, but their focus in this role is on executing based on what has been decided by the leader or the group.
Two Person Team: Final Thoughts
The problem SO many CEOs, start-up founders, freelancers, small business owners, and coaches face is that they try to do both of these at the same time.
They decide to try a strategy of reaching out to potential clients who might want big projects to boost revenues.
They do a few phone calls, ask for referrals, and they get a couple of no’s. Because it’s hard to hear No’s they start to doubt the strategy. They think well maybe I should just go after some smaller clients instead, so they switch to that, maybe they get a few jobs, but there’s not enough money and they realize that isn’t working. So they think about the bigger job clients again.
Pretty soon they feel discouraged, trapped, and uncertain.
But if they were two people or if they better understood the two roles (Leader and Do-er), this wouldn’t happen.
The salesperson might tell the CEO that they were getting some no’s and the CEO might ask about the number of calls or what kind of response they had gotten. They probably would tell the salesperson to keep going until they made 25 or 50 calls so they have enough information to see if the strategy was or wasn’t working.
The salesperson would keep going because they had the support of the CEO who was standing for the vision and focused on the information and feedback needed to make a good call.
The CEO may start to think of other strategies but would trust the salesperson to do the best job they could and learn as they went along, knowing that it takes time to test out any strategy.
The challenge is that we are NOT two people.
The doubts of the salesperson can become the doubts of the CEO and vice versa.
The critical eye of the writer can become paralyzing to the writer.
The fears of the coach can undermine the trust of the marketing manager.
This is why if you’ve got a job where you have to be in both roles, YOU’VE GOT TO LEARN TO SEPARATE THEM!!!
You can do this by trading off days.
On Monday I’m just a salesperson for my company. I’m going to get on the phone, or on my email and try to make it rain.
Then on Tuesday morning I’ll sit down with myself and do my best work.
You can do this by having different spaces.
I do my writing in my living room chair and I DO NOT EDIT.
I do my editing at my desk where I do my other admin tasks.
You can even try different outfits or hats (physical or energetic).
When I put on my dress pants I’m the CEO of my company and I’m setting the strategy.
The rest of the time I’m a worker on my team and I’m focused on getting the day-to-day done.
And YES I’m fully aware the two will bleed into each other in certain places.
That’s ok. The key here is to do your best to notice where your head is at and ask if it’s where it needs to be.
To do anything well you need both the vision and the courage to execute that vision.
But you have to remember that courage sometimes means staying the course even when it’s hard. And sometimes it means taking a hard look at the strategy even when you don’t want to admit it isn’t working.