By Rachell Newburn

The first step to breakthrough performance is determining what it looks like for your business.

Creating your story for your business

Take time to determine what success looks like for your business.

It could be that you want to get past things that are stopping you, learning from your mistakes and failures or experiencing success that you never had before.
It could be that you want to get past things that are stopping you, learning from your mistakes and failures or experiencing success that you never had before.

Our clients at Collaboration achieve breakthrough performances that are specific to them. For example, one client was so caught up in the day-to-day tactics that he struggled to achieve the long-term goals necessary for growing his business. His version of breakthrough performance was learning how to step out of the day-to-day and groom his management team to take over those duties.

While everyone’s experience will be unique, I did notice a few common themes among our clients. Here’s what we found as we evaluated the shared characteristics of our clients who achieved breakthrough performance. Perhaps this information will resonate with you and help your business get to the next coveted level.

Business Life Cycle.

The business life cycle is comprised of seven stages: Conception, Start-up, Early Stage, Growth, Rapid Growth, Maturing, and Innovation or Decline. Typically, we found that businesses on the brink of breakthrough performance are in the Growth or Rapid Growth stages. At this point, leaders should be focused on two things about 60-80% of the time:

  1. Creating and communicating the vision and direction of the company
  2. Being less hands-on, therefore allowing the management team to run daily operations

However, many leaders are stuck in the weeds — they’re caught up in the daily operations and therefore unable to focus on creating and communicating the vision and direction of the company. If your company is growing rapidly, you need to focus on the next stage and shift your leadership style to accommodate the company’s growth needs. Realizing that this change is essential will help you achieve that next level of performance. Remember: What worked then, will not work now.

Leader Personality Styles.

Through Collaboration’s WorkTraits program, we are able to identify leadership styles, identified as the following:

  • Decision Makers are to-the-point, look at the big picture and effectively execute.
  • Encouragers are very engaging, “people people,” and are relationship-oriented.
  • Facilitators enjoy harmony and security in the workplace, and they’re easily identified as the quiet person focused on listening to others.
  • Trackers are focused on the details, highly organized and deliver high-quality work.

Which two do you think are the leadership styles that could hold back breakthrough performance? The first is Encouragers. As people-pleasers and optimists, they tend to over-commit. They want to say ‘yes!’ to everything. Yet, they sometimes don’t consider company priorities before committing, which is an issue in the high growth phase of the business life cycle. Encouragers need to slow down and assess before committing. Determine how this project fits into the big picture and how the task will connect to the company’s priorities.

Decision makers also can hold back breakthrough performance due to their tunnel vision. They have trouble admitting when they’re wrong and learning from their mistakes. Decision makers can struggle to see things from another person’s perspective. The inability to see things from another point of view creates alienation; ultimately, decision makers may be viewed as intimidating or unapproachable. Their ambition can be destructive when they don’t consider the objectives of the company. Being overly ambitious can hinder progress if they can’t explain the connection between their motives and the bigger picture to their team. When coaching decision makers, we aim to link their ambition to kindness, patience and better listening skills in order for these leaders to consider other people’s perspectives.

Please keep in mind that these leadership styles aren’t bad. There are many great things that these types of leaders can do that got them to this point of success and high growth. But in every leader’s career, there will come a time when a gut check is needed. Ask yourself: What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What do I need to change and adapt to get to the next level?

Three Obstacles Holding You Back.

  • Lacking Clarity of Vision and Values. If you don’t have a clear vision and values set for your business, your employees will be confused about their purpose. With a clear vision and values, your employees will feel confident, motivated and will understand their roles. Think about it this way: How many people will follow you if you don’t know where you’re going? Vision and values are your guiding post; always make decisions that are in alignment with them.
  • With a solid accountability structure, people will feel confident to come to you when they need support. By setting expectations and effectively managing and developing your staff, your team will stay on track and feel motivated to get the job done. Leaders must communicate a clear set of standards and expectations that they and their employees must follow
  • Sometimes, leaders will place the blame elsewhere. Instead, pause and self-reflect and ask yourself how you are holding the business back. You must shift your personality, work style and organizational structure in order to lead your team and business to the next level.

There’s a lot involved in achieving breakthrough performance. But no one said it’d be easy! Take the time to evaluate, strategize and, most importantly, make big changes to get through to that next level of growth to achieve your breakthrough opportunity.

Thanks to Collaboration Consultant Zheila Pouraghabagher for developing and leading our February Biz Ed. Many of our attendees recognized themselves in the examples provided and left the presentation armed with a variety of ideas to achieve their own breakthrough performance. This article is based on Zheila’s presentation.

Let’s Talk

Something’s not right with your business. You know it, your team feels it and maybe it’s trickling down to your clients too. Whatever issues you’re facing, let our friendly, smart, intuitive team give you the tools you need to elevate your business. Give us a call, send an email, or meet us out for coffee or a cocktail. Let’s collaborate to create a successful business!

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