You Must Start With Leadership If You Want To Work On (And Not In) Your Business

‘Spend more time working on the business, and less time working in the business’ they say. If you have been a leader in business for any length of time, you will have been given this advice. The premise is that to be successful, you can’t spend all of your time doing the day to day tasks (that others can do), and spend more time focussing on the things that only you can do, as well as looking beyond day-to-day and into the future.

While this is generally good advice – it needs to be multi-directional. Most people, when told to ‘spend more time on the business’, look outward – to strategy, to team, to customer service, to innovation and new product.
If you truly want to work on the business, the first place – and direction – you need to look at is inwards at your own leadership and behaviours. If you truly want to work on the business and not in it, the first place – and direction – you need to look at is inwards at your own leadership and behaviours.

Why Focus On Your Leadership?

Because as the leader, you have an enormous amount of influence over what gets done, how it gets done and when it gets done. Looking outwards can deal with the symptoms of issues, looking inwards can address the cause.
Like it or not, as the leader, you can often be the cause of a problem, or the bottleneck of one.

What Does This Focus Look Like?

It starts with asking yourself a couple of questions – and it can be harder to answer than you might think.

  • Have I fully assumed the responsibility of my role in the last 3 months?
  • What have I put off that I could have done sooner?
  • Who should I have listened to more in the last 3 months (which would have saved me time and effort)?
  • Who should I have listened to less in the last 3 months (which would have saved me time and effort)?
  • What task or action have I put off or avoided that has an impact on both me and the business?
  • What actions and behaviours can I be responsible for?
  • What promises will I make to myself and my team for the next 3 months for those actions and behaviours?
  • Who will hold me to account for those actions?

If you want to spend more time working on the business and not in it, looking at how you lead and the impact that you have – on yourself and others – is the first (and most difficult) place to start.

Executive Leadership Coaching Can Help You Focus On Your Business

If you see the need for this kind of reflection but don’t know how to have it (or you know yourself well enough to know you SHOULD but you won’t – these are the types of conversations that an effective Executive Coach or Leadership Coach can have with you. Whether it is working side by side with you, in partnership, cheering you on or giving you a little push, a skilled coach can have you working more on the business, less in the business, and with the right leadership behaviours and skills to match.
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Unveiling the Secrets of a Great Emerging Leaders Program for Small to Medium-sized Businesses

If you want your business to succeed in the long term, cultivating the next generation of leaders is essential. For companies with 50 to 200 employees, a well-designed Emerging Leaders Program can be a game-changer. But what sets apart an average program from a truly great one? Let’s dive into the main differentiators.

  1. Customisation and Flexibility: One size rarely fits all, and that’s especially true for emerging leaders. Does your program offer tailored development plans to cater to individual strengths and weaknesses? Is it adaptable to changing business needs and changing business leaders? Flexibility is a hallmark of a great program. A feature of the program at Developing Leaders is the additional reading integrated into the program. Selected texts are agreed with the leadership team before the program starts, reflecting current trends, essential focus points and leadership team preference.
  2. Clear Starting Point. There is no point diving right into an Emerging Leaders Program without knowing the current skill level of each participant. This is where a comprehensive leadership assessment is vital. The Velocity Leadership checkpoint provides just that – ensuring both facilitators and participants know current strengths and development areas. This allows participants to begin focussed development early, and allows facilitators and coaches to adapt and adjust content to meet current needs. 
    The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint Is The Start Point For An Emerging Leaders Program
    The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint Is The Start Point For An Emerging Leaders Program


  3. Clear Objectives: Great programs have well-defined objectives. Do your participants know what’s expected of them, and are these expectations aligned with the company’s strategic goals? In addition, are the individuals goals in alignment with what their managers / leadership team expect? A great Emerging Leaders Program integrates the needs of the individual with the needs of the business and business leaders, providing a feedback loop for all three
  4. Leadership Team Integration: A key differentiator between an average and a great program is the quality of mentorship, coaching and communication provided in conjunction with the businesses leadership team. Does your program provide executive summaries and short training videos for the Managers of an Emerging Leaders Program? Are questions and developing activities integrated to include the leadership team in the process? If not, you risk separating a key business relationship and sending the two groups in different learning directions.
  5. Practical Skill Development: Beyond leadership knowledge, emerging leaders programs need to develop a broad set of practical leadership skills. Leadership models and ideas need to be transferred to practical applications that can be applied in a learning and real setting, applied and challenged in real life situations, with feedback and reflection encouraged and shared with others.
  6. Feedback Loops: Great programs facilitate regular feedback and performance evaluations, as well as shared knowledge from outside the program. In adapting an old African proverb, ‘it takes a village to raise a leader’. Emerging leaders Programs should not develop leaders in isolation, it should be in conjunction with current leadership groups and teams, sharing skills and knowledge through the process. Is your program structured to help participants integrate their improvement and communicate it with their team? Is the leadership team of the business involved in the process throughout the program (not just at completion)? Including the leadership team in the additional reading component of the Developing Leaders program encourages additional discussion between participants and their Managers.
  7. Cultural Integration: A strong company culture is a powerful asset. Great programs ensure that emerging leaders understand and embody the company’s values and culture, and can integrate new learning to fit within cultural behaviours. It also encourages participants to challenge their own behaviours and cultural norms and accept responsibility for their actions and making change.
  8. Transparency and Questioning: Are the program’s inner workings transparent to all participants? Do the participants understand why certain components are being taught and integrated? Can participants challenge the learning being provided and question its intent? Participants should be engaged in their own learning process and understand the purpose of content and its practical applications. A key skill of a leader is to be able to question effectively and challenge the status quo. These skills should be developed and encouraged within an Emerging Leaders Program. This requires not only knowledgeable facilitators, but ones that are willing to be challenged themselves and learn with participants.
  9. Cost Effective and Quantifiable ROI: Efficiency matters. A great program maximizes the value delivered within the allocated budget and demonstrates its worth through a clear return on investment. It should enhance productivity, employee satisfaction, and profitability.

Now, the big question is, does your Emerging Leaders Program encompass these differentiating factors, or is it merely average? Evaluating and improving your program in line with these principles can make the difference between nurturing competent leaders and fostering exceptional ones. After all, leadership development isn’t just about the future; it’s about the present, too.

Developing Leaders can develop a great Emerging Leaders Program to fit for your unique business right now. For an obligation free discussion on how a program can be applied and adapted to suit your needs, follow the Calendly link on the Emerging Leaders Program, or enter your details on the page for us to get back to you!