As 2020 comes to a close, I’ve taken some time to reflect and observe everything that has happened this year. In January of 2020, I had a lot of big goals in place for my organization. I wanted to grow my team and start scaling aggressively.
However, as we all know, things changed in March when the first lockdowns were imposed in the States. Like many of you, my team and I were concerned about the future. As the lockdowns increased, I had a leadership meeting with my team to discuss our next course of action.
While I am fortunate to have a remote-based business where my team members work from home, cutbacks were still necessary at the start of the pandemic. As I discussed limiting hours and scaling back to my leadership team, a few of them reacted in a selfish way.
Leading Selfishly vs. Selflessly
As we began to scale back in March, I realized that some of my leadership team members weren’t adjusting well and were putting themselves before the team and the organization. While I completely understood their financial concerns, we all had to make sacrifices for the organization to stay afloat.
After some coaching and discussion, these particular team members were let go.
You’ve heard me say this before, but we as entrepreneurs are in the service business. We aim to serve our organization, our team and our customers. Putting yourself before everything else only leads to failure. These people were key aspects of my leadership team, and letting them go was difficult for me, as I had worked with them for many years.
However, after some reflection, I saw their exit from the organization as a wake-up call for my own leadership skills. I realized that my standards had relaxed, and I wasn’t holding my team as accountable as I should have been. It was my responsibility to set the tone on how we serve, and I wasn’t doing the best job at it.
On the other side of that, I also saw many team members step up to the plate and excel this year. Within the last few months, I’ve seen who is loyal to the organization and who isn’t. When you step into a leadership role, your thinking shifts toward what is best for the organization, what is best for the team and what is best for the clients.
Setting the Right Goals
My team and I started off 2020 with big goals of expansion and growth. But, by the end of the year, my focus shifted to working on relationships and ensuring on-time delivery to our clients. As I’ve said before, relationships are more important than money, and I’ve worked hard to instill those ideas within my team.
While this year has been a challenging one, we’ve still had an amazing year of growth. With a new focus on culture, relationships and excellent deliverables, we’ve been able to grow our relationships with our clients and each other.
Despite the pandemic, we shifted our organization and achieved on-time delivery for over 90 percent of our work. We’re here to get results, not just punch a clock.
My overall learnings for 2020 are simple. Your C players aren’t going to evolve into A players. Sometimes cutting ties with certain players is the best thing for your organization as a whole. In no way does it mean that those you let go are bad people, they probably just aren’t a good fit.
I encourage you to take a step back and reflect on this year. What worked and what didn’t work? What will you take with you into 2021 and what will you leave behind? Set small goals and revolve everything around them. Focus on culture and relationships whenever possible.
I hope my year-end reflections help you think about how you go into 2021. Let me know what you think in the comments, and contact me if you have any questions.