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CEO as Company Roadblock - One Story

December 29, 2017

 

This post is courtesy of an attendee to a My Big Idea™ workshop

 

By most accounts, I’m successful. I’m a woman in a high-profile position, and lead a company with employees and annual revenues at the seven-figure mark.

 

I shattered the glass ceiling on my way to the top, and have no regrets about the path I’ve taken to get here. Recently, however, I realized that while I’ve conquered many of the roadblocks that stood in my way, my own misgivings and fears were preventing me from growing my company.

 

One doesn’t get to the position I’m in by chance. To remain relevant and successful, however, one must confront our weaknesses. I’m not perfect, and can point out my own shortcomings, but until recently was unaware of how much of an impact my own fears were holding my company back.  

 

During a recent My Big Idea™ professional workshop, the topic of wealth and finance was covered as one of the pillars of a successful company and successful leader.

 

While diving deep into this topic thanks to the professional facilitation during the workshop, I realized I was holding my company back.

 

Opportunities for growth have come along, and while we’ve taken some of them, many seemed out of reach because they were too risky. I never wanted to risk losing my company, so I passed up on opportunities that would use more of our company’s savings than I felt comfortable with.  

 

I didn’t seek out financing, I didn’t entertain what it would look like or take to borrow money. I was too afraid.

 

From an outside perspective, my desire for financial security seems reasonable. As I confronted my own fear, however, I realized that my fears may be unfounded. Risk is necessary for growth, and calculated risk can take my company farther than ever before. If I want my company to grow, I need to take some chances.

 

While in attendance at the My Big Idea™ workshop, I was reminded of the importance of seeking outside counsel. We’ve all heard the stories about companies that denied reality until it was too late, and the company went bankrupt. 

 

One of the most famous examples, Kodak, led the photography market for years, while ignoring the changing technology. As a result, they had a stunning fall that cost them nearly 99% of their value in a matter of years. No one wants to follow their lead, but as their example shows, we’re often blind to our weaknesses.

 

One of my favourite ideas about business growth is to surround myself by employees who know more than I do. Giving them the resources necessary to do their job allows them to succeed, and in turn, benefits our company.

 

It has served me well over the course of my career, and I have realized that I need to use my own advice and seek financial counsel on how to lead my company into the next phase of success.

 

I cannot say that I know what the future holds, but I can be confident that I now have the clarity to do everything possible to successfully lead my company.

 

How can I expect my employees to take risks and develop new processes when I am unwilling to take my own risks? What example am I setting by playing it safe?

 

Ships were not made to stay safe in the harbour, they were designed to go across the sea. I need to take my ship out of the harbour. Who knows what new discoveries and opportunities await, just outside my comfort zone?

 

If you ever get the chance to participate in such an effective corporate workshop, jump at the chance. The success of your team and your company are worth it.

 

Next Steps:

Need to get out of your own way to lead your company and team to greatness? Contact the team at My Big Idea™ to learn how our professional workshops can help.

 

This was a guest post from a My Big Idea™ – BMO One Big Idea participant from the November 2017 workshop held in Toronto, Canada.

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