Would you say your business is flying?
Are you able to spend 90 per cent of your time working on the business rather than in the business?
Alternatively, do you or your leadership team have blind spots that are making the business increasingly ‘overhead heavy’ as it grows?
To put it another way, are there times that make you wish you were a one-man band again?
There is a great deal written about how to move a business forwards and what makes a well managed company.
But before you think about restructuring or making a plan to reform aspects of your firm, it's worth identifying the blind spots of your leadership team as these will be the barriers to change.
The truth is there isn't a single business leader who doesn’t have blind spots.
Here is a breakdown of the most common ones, some of which may resonate with you.
1) Not in recruiting mode
Do you know exactly who you are going to need to bring into the business in the next 12 months? Are you always on the lookout for such people, and do you hire them as soon as you find them?
If you're confident of your business plans, you may even look to recruit good people ahead of time.
2) No process for hiring
Does everyone in the company follow a rigid hiring and interviewing process?
This process should be documented, and backed by an understanding of the competencies needed for each role, as well as a consistent process to score each applicant.
3) Not creating a culture of accountability
Does every role have clear accountability and measurement?
Think about using dashboards for identifying performance, and consider your firm's business targets. Does every role have rewards for achieving these, or are these in place solely for your advisory team?
Most importantly, does the leadership team show vulnerability? Are they ready to acknowledge skills gaps in certain areas, and to trust others with that knowledge to make decisions?
4) 'Learned helplessness'
This is where people feel a lack of control to change a negative situation, whether this sense of helplessness is perceived or the reality.
It can happen where the leadership team undermines people's sense of personal responsibility, and can result in members of the team feeling the need to constantly seek approval for their actions and decisions.
5) No common language and ways of working
If you asked each person in the company (especially the advisory team) to write down the process they follow and the ideal outcomes, would you get consistent answers across the business?
6) Not capturing best practice
Following on from the above, do you document what the top performers do and what makes them great?
Once you identify these characteristics and ways of working, you can then look to build them into company practices.
7) No strong onboarding experience
Do you have a strong onboarding process for new recruits?
Ideally, this should include making sure people know how to embed your firm's stated company culture into daily practices.
8) Knowing how to coach
Does the leadership team have formal coaching skills?
The recommendation here is to hold coaching sessions with members of staff on an at least monthly basis.
9) Training the managers
As well as training individual staff members, managers also need support in carrying out their role.
As companies grow, leaders need to adapt from perhaps being technical experts in their previous roles into becoming leaders and managers of people.
Have all your managers been adequately trained for this change? Is there a consistent management style and culture across all the teams?
10) Not planning for organisational change
Do you carefully plan and prepare how you will communicate changes when they are needed?
This applies not just to a full-blown company reorganisation but also to changes to things like the pay and bonus structure.
11) Communicating the vision
The leadership team can only encourage and deliver your vision if they also feel ownership of it. Is your vision and mission clear, and is it shared with those responsible for the changes it calls for?
12) Always be commercial
Is servicing clients and selling that service treated as the sole responsibility of a single team, or does everyone in the company know the numbers?
In a well managed business, everyone shares in a communal sense of commercial and client responsibility. This means the business numbers are widely known and shared.