America’s Leadership Expert : Best Decisions

Clay Staires: This is Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert, with podcast number 63, the ten commandments of solving issues. We have a nice podcast in our last session, number 62, talking about the IDS formula for solving problems, as stated by Gino Wickman in his book, Traction. I believe that started on page 131 in that book. He goes on in this chapter to talk about the 10 commandments of solving issues. I found, as Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert, traveling across the country, speaking with managers, doing management training with large and small organizations across the country, that management so often, so often management is the problem.

I just found so much lesser the problem is vision. Most of the problem is management. It is the implementation of the vision. It’s the holding people accountable. It’s the having the systems, and especially as I coach entrepreneurs and business owners, as Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert, what I find so often, it’s this management piece that keeps entrepreneurs from getting to freedom. Yes, They may be making money. That is fantastic. Or maybe not making money. They can be successful, but the problem is they still don’t have freedom. They still have to go to work every day. They still have to show up. They are still tied to their company.

What I want to talk about here in this podcast is the 10 commandments to solving issues. Again, in our last podcast we talked about the three steps to solving issues, the IDS formula. Let’s dive in here to the 10 commandments of solving issues, and maybe I’ll talk like this. Thou shalt .. I’ll do some of this stuff. Commandment number one, and I don’t know that these are in any particular order. Okay?

Commandment number one, thou shalt not rule by consensus. This is so important. Yes. When I get my leadership team together I want to discuss, but when it comes down to decision I want the input from my team, but as the business owner the decision in on me. The buck stops here. I am the one that is making the decision. I’m not ruling by committee. I’m not ruling by consensus. This is not a democracy. My leadership team, yes, they may be giving me time, but I am paying them for their time. They do not have their money and their families invested in this company the way that I do, so I do not rule by consensus.

Number two, thou shalt not be a weenie. Ah. I love this one. You’ve got to be able to make the hard decisions. You’ve got to be able to, as Jack Welch talks about, you have to be able to have the edge, make the hard decisions, do the hard thing. As Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert, I get to spend time with business owners across the country and entrepreneurs, helping them not be a weenie, giving them the confidence that they need, helping them see themselves for who they truly are, rather than living in this world of emotion, and drama, and fear. “Oh. If I make that decision, then somebody may get mad, so I’m not going to make the decision. You know, I just don’t know if I should do this.” Thou shalt not be a weenie.

This leads right into the commandment number three, thou shalt be decisive. This is one of the key things I just got an opportunity to speak to a group here in a suburb of Tulsa, Jenks, Oklahoma, and their Leadership Jenks Program, and their Chamber of Commerce. This was one of the piece, one of the steps that I talked about with leadership. Leaders make decisions. You must be decisive in solving issues. You must be decisive. If you fade back form making decisions, if you continue to stay in this circling pattern of, “Well, we just need to talk about it more. We need to think about it more. We need to have another meeting with more people and have a committee,” it just keeps your organization from moving forward. If you’re not careful, while you are not moving forward, you are losing money, and your company can go down.

Commandment number four, thou shalt not rely on secondhand information.America’s leadership expert Ah. This is key. Once again, so often what business leaders do … It’s like have you ever wondered why all of a sudden all these reality shows are coming out that kind of go behind the scenes in different businesses? Because so many businesses are just filled with drama. That’s why we watch these TV shows every week is that there’s always drama. We just want to watch how tragic it can be. How many bad decisions can they make? We look at the TV and we’re going, “Stop making these stupid decisions,” but the problem is is that if they stopped making the stupid decisions, we would stop watching it, because healthy is not that entertaining. Healthy is fulfilling, but it’s not entertaining. It’s the drama, it’s the emotion, it’s the tragic decisions that go on, you know, when all of a sudden the business owner has a secretary and the secretary’s pregnant. I wonder if it’s his. Stay tuned to next week.

We’ve got to keep the drama out of the company, and this is one of the key things. Do not rely on secondhand information. Go directly to the source. Everybody in my companies, they all know that if you come to me with a problem and I say, “Who was saying that?”, and if you go, “Well, I don’t feel comfortable saying,” I will fire you. I will fire you, because you are unwilling to give me the information that I need to correctly and successfully lead my company. “Well, you know, there’s just a lot of people.” Oh, man. That really makes me frustrated. As Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert, this is one of the things that I will not tolerate is for people to be pointing fingers to anonymous people and say, “Yes. I heard. Everyone’s talking. Oh. There’s a group of people. There’s these people.” I want to know names, and if you don’t give me names, I will fire you.

Commandment number five, thou shalt fight for the greater good. There has to be a willingness to see the greater good and not just be focusing on self and what gets you where you want to go. Is it important for you to get where you want to go? Yes. It is, but if you begin to put your needs consistently above everyone else’s needs, the company will go down.

Commandment number six, thou shalt not try to solve all your problems. You will have problems on, and on, and on. The issues list never stops. It’s never over. You’re never done. So many people when they are writing a to do list they get frustrated, because they’re saying, “The to do list just never stops.” It’s like, “Well, it’s never supposed to stop. It’s never supposed to stop. It goes on and on.” Once again, as Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert, these are issues that I see come up consistently with business owners, that there’s this idea, this fantasy thinking that I’m going to get to a point where there are no longer problems, and that is not the case. If you want to get to a place where there are no longer problems, you need to sell your company and go get a job with somebody else. Then they can just tell you every single day what they want, what they need you to do.

Commandment number seven, thou shalt live with it, end it, or change it. These are your options. Live with it, end it, or change it. We do not have an option of tolerating it. This goes back to number three, of be decisive. Don’t be a weenie. You have to either make the decision to change it, or make the decision to end it, or make the decision to we’re just going to live with it.

Commandment number eight, thou shalt choose short term pain and suffering. In this world you will have pain. In this business you will have suffering. You can guarantee it. It will come your way. The issue is what are you going to do when it comes? How are you going to respond to it? Once again, we go to number five, fight for the greater good. Are you willing to choose short term pain for long term gain?

Commandment number nine, thou shalt enter the danger. I call this the furnace. Wickman calls it enter the danger. I say enter the furnace, willingly enter into the furnace, the fire that purifies, the struggles, the difficulties, the problems, the issues that come up that purify you as a leader and purify your company as you solve over, and over, and over. What is it? If you heat up silver, the impurities rise to the top, and it is easily to remove the impurities, but if you don’t heat up the silver, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to remove the impurities. Commandment number nine, thou shalt enter the furnace.

Then finally commandment number ten, thou shalt take the shot. Oh. This just reminds me of my basketball days back in high school. When it would come to the end of the game there were a few guys on the team who, “Do not give me the ball.” They were terrified. They could see it in their eyes. I was always the one saying, “Give me the rock. Give me the ball. There’s three seconds to go. We’re one point behind. Give me the ball. I want the ball in my hands.” I did the same in football. I did the same in track. I wanted to be the one. I wanted it to be on my shoulders. Give it to me. Let me take the shot. As a business owner, this is one of your responsibilities. Take the ball. Take the shot. This is Clay Staires, America’s leadership expert, with podcast number 63, the ten commandments of solving issues.