Starting or running your own small business involves a great deal of hard work, commitment and the ability to understand a great deal of information. The initial catalyst to being a business owner is usually predicated around being a believer in a certain product or a trend that you think can be addressed or an opportunity to be your own boss.
Legacy Bowes Group Articles
For the hockey fans this past weekend, the game on Sunday night against the Anaheim Ducks and the Winnipeg Jets was truly outstanding. The game itself went into overtime ended in a double shoot out – with a Finnish player making the winning goal. How appropriate! It was action packed, the energy on the ice was very obvious by both teams, and the fans you could tell had been provided quite the show!
With the Grey Cup Championship just around the corner at the end of the week, the moment of truth for the final two teams – the Ottawa Red Blacks and the Edmonton Eskimos – has arrived. Next Sunday the real test of Team Dynamics will be apparent. All the individual training, the personal commitments and the individual talents of each player and coach better be at 100%, in a unified, true team effort in order to win the ultimate prize and be crowned the Grey Cup Champions.
I recently spent a long weekend in the Lake Louise and Banff area. Although I’m an avid skier, I decided to forego skiing and participate in other activities the area has to offer – as the area does offer an abundance.
One such activity was Dog Sledding. My initial attraction was simply seeing a poster in the Lake Louise Tourism shop and thought if for no other reason, then when I travel to a southern, warm destination and was asked by locals if I have ever experienced dog sledding being Canadian, I could honestly then say – “Yes! I have and it was very cool!” Little did I know that I would gain more than simply, a fun excursion amongst a beautiful snowy backdrop and the thrill of trying something new, but see evidence of typical organizational dynamics in a unique setting!
Getting people working together a key part of organization structure
Have you ever sat down and thought about how fast our business world is transforming particularly as it relates to new products and services? Look at how quickly society adopted Facebook, one of the first social-networking sites invented in 2004.
As an executive search professional, I am always looking to meet young up-and-coming professionals who are seeking that top job. Many only see the fame and fortune they think will accompany the promotion rather than the hard work that goes with it.
Senior executive jobs are much more stressful. For instance, you will now have a governance board of some kind which means you are now like a symphony conductor facilitating a wide variety of ideas and shaping them into a collaborative goal. You will need to be very strategic with a focus on both short and long term planning because now your drive for results must include the entire company.
A senior executive must have excellent communication skills so that their communication is always timely as well as clear. They need to be good listeners, encouraging staff input and being open to hearing new ideas. They need to be good face to face communicators as well as having strengths in the written word.
Communication is a relationship building tool and good executives use this skill to develop extensive industry specific networks. They take external leadership roles in professional associations and they volunteer in community activities, all to become a known entity, market their organization and to be fully aware of everything that is going on around them.
Senior executives need to have a strong sense of political acuity in order to evaluate, understand and collaborate with the different political agendas that will be at play as decisions are being made. Political acuity is all about judgment; understanding and effectively dealing with both internal organizational issues as well as external trends. It’s about the know-how as well as one’s timing in approaching and dealing with issues.
Financial management at the most senior level is complex and a senior executive must be highly tuned to the financial levels within their organization and how to continually balance these to ensure profitability. This means ensuring the highest level of financial analysis capabilities to identify trends and monitor productivity. It also means hiring the most capable people and being able to translate financial issues into understandable terms for general staff and board representatives.
Good senior executives also inspire and motivate people, they build relationships throughout the organization. They are able to mobilize everyone behind a common goal and thrive in a participative and collaborative leadership style. That old fashioned, “do as you are told”, just doesn’t work anymore.
Yet, there is no way around it, balancing the role of a senior executive with professional obligations and family responsibilities is difficult and challenging. They work longer hours and have the pressure of success for the entire organization on their shoulders.
Energetic and ambitious young professionals need to ask themselves if they really want this challenge and lifestyle. They need to recognize that “climbing the ladder” isn’t the only path to success. There are many elements that make up a great work experience and individuals need to find this out before they step on the first rung of the executive career ladder.
Take time to really do a self-assessment not only about your skills and experiences but what kind of lifestyle you want. What type of balance do you want between work and home? Do you want to be your children’s sports coach or will you be happy to attend the occasional game? If there is anything that senior executives say they would do again, is to spend more time with their kids.
If you decide that being at the top of the career ladder isn’t for you, that’s great because there are many projects and new assignments at work that you can take on. Sometimes volunteer leadership will help to fill a gap. Continuing with your education for intellectual stimulation is another good choice.
But whatever choice you make, know that your decision is the right one for you. Once you make the right choice, you will find your pride, self confidence and self-esteem will confirm you are at the right place at the right time and doing the right things.
For those of you who don't know it, I'm a runner! However, the other day I headed out and found myself going straight into a strong head wind. At times, it seemed that no matter how hard and fast I tried to run, it felt like I wasn't moving at all. Not a great feeling – expending all that effort and energy and not moving forward. And yet, that's often how we can feel at work. We're working hard and putting in long hours but it feels like things are just not moving how we want them to.