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I look across the lake (figuratively) at Seattle and its City Council. I see a bunch of single issue councilmembers with no big picture focus or strategy. This was confirmed by the headline in the July 19 Seattle Times about how the city wants to push forward with more bike lanes. The sub-headline was about how transportation officials see obstacles, mainly all the existing construction downtown.

But Seattle has a couple councilmembers who only care about having more bike lanes (forget the homeless, mentally ill, etc., we need bike lanes). Without effective leadership you have a dysfunctional organization, whether it’s a government, business, or non-profit. And it got me thinking of a few businesses I know and their issues.

  • A friend doesn’t believe in business plans, strategy, metrics, job descriptions, etc. Is it any wonder the firm bounces around and he spends almost as much time doing things like driving a truck as he does running the company?
  • Another firm has a COO who runs roughshod over the owner. He doesn’t listen to the owner, won’t hire people for needed positions (he can do it all), and makes sales at low margins. No leadership, no (positive) results.
  • A past client thought delegation was a sign of weakness. So, he had his hands in everything. From bidding (his expertise), to sales (he was good once it got to the technical part), and accounting (of which he knew almost nothing, especially regarding the balance sheet).

During speaking engagements, I tell audiences a good business buyer and owner is someone with skills managing people, processes, systems, and money (to some varying degree). The people part is the most important, especially giving them the latitude to grow.

“The art of delegation is one of the key skills any entrepreneur must master.” Richard Branson

“You always hear about delegation, but people make the mistake of delegating and not following up. I give authority, but I stay in touch. Otherwise it doesn’t work.” Wayne Huizenga

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