Leading into the headwind of change

Did you know that pilots prefer to take off into a headwind? In short, it helps them achieve ‘wheels up’ faster because they don’t have to gain as much ground speed.

Change is a headwind in business, and strong leaders don’t just embrace it…they run straight into it with confidence about what lies above the clouds when they are airborne. 

The first and most basic change every leader needs to embrace is a simple mindset shift.

Entrepreneurs and business owners are leaders. They are piloting their businesses. When a leader is ready to make that change from doing business (taxiing down the runway) to running a business (taking off), he or she shifts their mindset from being reactive to becoming proactive.

How does this happen exactly? 

Let’s start at the beginning. Whether you own a bakery, a construction company, a medical practice, or even a professional services firm- everyone starts their business with an idea. A spark of excitement to create something. Pretty soon, you’re doing business. You have customers, maybe employees, and you’re running hard trying to make payroll, turn a profit, and make money.

Maybe it’s working. Or, maybe you’re feeling the grind. The exhaustion. The burnout. You are the only one who really knows how to ‘do’ your business, right? The master of everything who must keep up with all of the external changing factors that impact your business.

Just like jogging for hours in a headwind, this is not sustainable. This is when good leaders see the opportunity that lies beyond change and take off into the headwind. Reactive business people simply see adversity.

Taking off

With a proactive mindset, you can create a vision to lead through change and toward your business goals. But, just like a flight plan that doesn’t get filed, what good is a vision if isn’t communicated to your team?

Communicating your vision to every member of your team and helping them understand exactly what they contribute to that vision is imperative. Have individual conversations with every team member, and give them the opportunity to ask questions. This helps to ensure ‘buy in,’ and it will also identify anyone who is not in alignment. 

Showing a united front with fellow leaders of the team is also crucial. Can you imagine if the pilot came over the loudspeaker to say, “good news, folks, we’ve made up some time in the air and will be landing on time,” and then the co-pilot hops on a few minutes later to say, “please allow those with tight connections to deplane first since we will be landing about 30 minutes later than planned?” Confusion for sure.

Trusting your crew

When you’re running a business, you don’t have to know everything. As a matter of fact, once you look in the mirror and humbly admit to yourself that you really don’t know everything, you can start to enjoy the entrepreneurial journey as a leader.

There are people smarter than you in different disciplines of business that you should surround yourself with and/or hire. If you float around like you know it all, you’ll never be successful making a change. Take Elsa’s advice…let it go.

Trust and empower the people you believe in that also believe in you. You’ve done your job communicating your vision. Now, let them go execute. 

Turbulence

Have you ever asked a pilot about what it feels like to fly a plane when there is turbulence? They love it! They are so positive about it. Most will say it keeps the flight from being boring, and that it’s like driving a car on a bumpy road. 

For business leaders and entrepreneurs, we are all going to experience turbulence in the form of setbacks and hurdles. Handling them with positivity and being willing to pivot around some of those air pockets results in growth.

Of all of the businesses I’ve worked with over the years, I have found that the financial gain is exponentially higher when an entrepreneur pivots early on vs. years into the business when they are already burned out. Refusing change, waiting too long, or becoming negative about obstacles will result in significant lost financial opportunity, adversity, and disappointment. 

Leading isn’t easy.

Often, our first instinct as humans is to put our guard up and start with ‘no,’ or even a wishy-washy ‘maybe after X.’’ Business owners who do this will exhaust an incredible amount of energy fighting against a headwind instead of leveraging it to elevate their business. This is where leaders step to the front of the pack.

At Harper & Company CPAs Plus, we know it’s about more than the numbers. We empower entrepreneurs to grow their business and enjoy their journey. Set up your free consultation today by calling (614) 456-7222. Or, email tax@harpercpaplus.com with the best number to reach you, and we’ll be in touch.

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