Are you the guardian or the architect of your business, or both?

A leader’s role and overall view of the business greatly affects the trajectory of any organization. The goal may be to minimize risk at all costs to protect the current state of affairs. For others, the goal may be to carefully design a strategy that leverages their strengths and capitalizes on market opportunities in their sights. The right path will be dictated by the appetite for change and how the management team manages risk.

Risk management is a given for either option, especially in today’s environment. Also, remember that there is a risk in doing nothing. The path chosen is neither right nor wrong, it simply is. The message here is to fully understand the path you are on, communicate it effectively, and make decisions that are consistent with the plan.

It is important to understand your core, the soul of your business. Another perspective on this is to recognize what your brand represents to stakeholders and the market. Is it more guardian, protecting and nurturing your organization? Or are you more of an architect, building on your strengths and designing for the future?

The clearer the distinction, the easier it will be for your team to track and get customers knocking on your door. Staff members become confused when mixed messages are sent by the management team. They all want to know where the business is going and what’s important to majority stakeholders so they can choose whether or not to get on board.

The same message applies to your customers. Your existing customers and your new prospects, rightly or wrongly, have formed opinions about the type of business you have. These opinions are formed by direct experience with the company and staff, as well as what they see on social media and what they hear from their peers. Leaders work hard to make these customer experiences consistent with the vision they had for the business. When that doesn’t happen, they know there is a failure at some point.

Having a clear vision that leverages your strengths and consistency in your actions will benefit you, your team, and the health of your organization, whether it’s a custodial or architect-focused approach. And, while risk management is the number one rule for all leaders, remember there is risk in doing nothing. If you have any questions or additional information on this topic, please comment below or contact me directly.

Mike Philie can help you validate what’s working and what needs to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is hard to do while simultaneously leveraging core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through to a sensible and practical approach. Learn more about, LinkedIn or by e-mail at [email protected].

Michael J. Chiaramonte