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Being the Leader Your Vision Requires
July 22, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments
When I think back to my decision to start Strategies, I had a very simple vision of what I wanted Strategies to become. My vision was to build a business coaching and training company for the salon/spa industry. That was almost 26 years ago.
Much has changed in the industry and technology, especially the internet. Even though my start-up vision required a few strategic course corrections, my initial vision remains solidly intact.
I knew from the beginning that turning my vision into a functioning and profitable enterprise was going to test my leadership abilities. And it most certainly did. Like all entrepreneurs, I sacrificed a lot to build my company.
As I look back, and as many have told me over the years, I never wavered from my core beliefs on the systems and approaches to lead and grow a successful and profitable salon/spa business. Most notably is Team-Based Pay and Strategies team-based business model that is the core of all we teach.
What I learned over these many years is that the loftier the owner’s vision, the more leadership dependent it becomes.
This doesn’t mean that starting or owning a small salon/spa is easy. In fact, the moment employees enter the picture, the pressure is on the leader to create and maintain the culture and disciplines that all businesses require.
As a 26-year old coaching company, we have a ringside seat into the leadership behaviors of salon/spa owners. We see the level of owner leadership that can overcome significant obstacles. Likewise, we also see owner leadership that is better at creating problems than fixing them.
Bringing a business vision to life and sustaining it is a complex maze of thinking, behavior, communication, discipline and so much more.
Through this complex maze, there are aspects of owner leadership that are pretty straightforward. Here are my No-Compromise Leadership must-do’s so you can lead at the level your vision requires of you:
- Embody your vision: Your vision for your salon/spa will only come to life if everything you do as the leader embodies your vision. Every employee takes his or her cues from you. If your vision requires extreme attention to the details, you must demonstrate that to your employees every day. If your vision requires the highest levels of customer service, as leader, you must model that for your employees. The same goes for the level of technical work. KEY: To achieve your vision, you must live your vision first.
- The voice of your company: Your company cannot speak for or defend itself. It is fully dependent on your thinking, behavior, discipline, values and most of all, your voice. Your voice sets the tone of the company. Your voice rallies and inspires your team. Your voice gives life to your vision. Your voice communicates and clarifies tough decisions and challenges. KEY: When needed, the best leaders are able to strategically be the voice of the company with a simple change in demeanor. This helps employees know that what you’re communicating is important to the company.
- Question but never waiver: Yes, there have been many times where I questioned my decisions as the leader, or if my company was on the right path. Questioning your decisions and company direction is a healthy process of leadership checks and balances. Maybe a better decision needs to be made or a course changed. KEY: Never waiver on your vision. The moment you waiver sends a message to your team that you no longer believe in your vision. That what they signed on for is not going to happen.
- Never get too comfortable: Just because your salon/spa is hitting home runs in growth, brand identity and profit, doesn’t mean the company is immune to problems or setbacks. KEY: Getting too comfortable and caught in your own hype almost always means that you let your guard down. That you’re not paying attention to the details at the level you should.
- Trust smartly: This is simply a take on measure it twice, cut it once. It also expands on the previous bullet point to never get too comfortable. Inspect and verify often, especially when it comes to finances. KEY: Trusting blindly and assuming everything is okay, leaves the door open to problems. There’s nothing wrong with a more detailed check-in. It keeps people sharp because you’re paying attention. Whenever you say, “How was that happening under my nose?”, you weren’t trusting smartly.
- Vision refresh: Over time, even the greatest visions tend to wither and lose potency. Markets change. Consumer needs change. Employee needs change. What was once inspiring can become ordinary and bland. New and aggressive competitors can enter your market space. KEY: A vision is actually a work in progress. It has to evolve and mature with the growth of the company. More importantly, a vision needs a leader that continually believes in what can be, not what was.
Here’s my challenge to you: On a scale of one to ten, match your vision and your leadership against the previous six bullet points. One is “not even close” and ten is excellent.
The highest you can score is a 60. If you do score a 60, do the process again and be brutally honest.
The lowest scores pinpoint where your leadership is out of sync with your vision and need work.
Please remember that much of what you read here addresses specific aspects of leadership that are commonly overlooked or minimized. When it comes to your vision and your leadership, nothing can be overlooked or minimized.