Why Every Good Leader Has Learned To Let Go

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Why Every Good Leader Has Learned To Let Go

Giving up any type of control in their business whatsoever is one of the most difficult things you could ask many entrepreneurs to do. Yet, to grow their businesses, and to grow themselves and their team members, it’s exactly what they have to do.
This is one of the most challenging issues we solve when entrepreneurs first come to Strategic Coach.
Gary Mottershead, a Strategic Coach client for over 25 years and one of our associate coaches for over 20, had been doing some thinking about entrepreneurs and their businesses. He was looking at his role in his own successful business — and what that role should be now and in the future.
The analogy he drew for himself clearly illustrated what his role had to be — and it was far, far from the obsessive-control end of the spectrum. It’s a very relatable analogy that’s worth sharing.
Taking care of business.
Gary told us, “It occurred to me one day that no one teaches you how to be an entrepreneur. Strategic Coach, in fact, is probably the closest I’ve come to learning about how to be a good leader and entrepreneur. I began to think about my business, which I’ve had now for about 17 years, and suddenly it struck me that having a business is like having children. I’m a father of two grown children, and no one gave my wife and me a blueprint for raising them either!”
In the beginning, like a baby, your business needs constant nurturing. It can’t survive on its own. So, like a parent and their child, it’s up to the entrepreneur who brought this fledgling into world to not only keep it alive, but to make sure it thrives. And this is where it can get tricky.
In charge, not in control.
If a business is to grow, it has to have its own life, just like children, who slowly but steadily have their own lives. With their parents’ modeling and support, they begin to have their own values, their own opinions, and their own words. As a parent, you slowly allow them a bit more freedom as they grow.
In an entrepreneurial business, this same process is happening with your team. You begin to see that as they learn more and more and you’re giving them a bit more freedom to be responsible, they’re not going to do things exactly the way you would because they have a different experience of life than you do. They’ve grown up in a different way.
The danger, and it’s a big danger, is that if we keep imposing our experience on them, we’re going to stifle them and their potential to grow, just as some parents can stifle their children.
Let it go.
“To have the opportunity to be a father, to have two great children, and to have a great business is fantastic,” Gary says. “I think of the business as I think about my children: It’s going to grow up, and it’s going to have its own life, which will also help me at the next stage of my entrepreneurial career. I’m not always going to be there.
“Someone else is going to run the company, and they’re going to run it differently than I would. Is that good or bad? I’d say it’s good because all of us have a time in life when we’re more useful than at others, and maybe we’re even more useful doing other things. Knowing your unique talents that create the most value for others allows you to move on and leave an opportunity for others.”
That’s the secret all good leaders know: Be in charge, but not in control. Let go. Here’s how:

Know what you do well — and what you don’t do well. If you’re having fun, do more of what you’re good at. That means you’ll have to give up those things you’re not good at. Have confidence in the people you’ve hired to support you, and give them freedom. Teach them and allow them to learn.
Don’t always be the savior. Avoid exposing them so much that they constantly go into failure mode, but enough to understand what it feels like to win and to lose, to make decisions that don’t work out. You’ve got to stand back and decide that you’re not going to step in. If they fail, talk about it and assess it afterward. Failure is a great teacher.
“Failure is a great teacher.”Click To Tweet
Trust your gut. When you have that feeling that something isn’t working for you, that it doesn’t feel good, there’s a reason we have that instinct. You need to follow it.

What’s next?
Gary’s analogy that likens nurturing children to nurturing a business is a great way to not only think about your business today, but also its potential in the future.
“I don’t have grandchildren yet,” he says, “but following my analogy and looking at my business from that perspective, it looks pretty appealing! What does every grandparent say? That it’s so wonderful to be a grandparent because you can show up and look after the grandchildren, you can have fun with them, and then you can hand them back to the parents! Why not be the grandparent in your own business? If you’ve been the parent and ‘raised’ your team well, they can run it.
“Show up when you need to show up, do the things you’re really good at doing, and then leave and let the ‘parents’ you’ve brought in and groomed to take care of the business take over again. And have fun, because it will be fun, but be there when you can provide counsel and support, and be the helping hand when it’s necessary.”
He goes on to say, “I look at the people who work with me as my children in the broad sense of the word. I want them to succeed, and empowering them to succeed is the best way to do that. And guess what that’s meant for me? It makes my life an awful lot easier. I have a lot more freedom, a lot more flexibility, a lot more fun. And there’s also been a lot of opportunity — both financial opportunity and the opportunity to do things I wouldn’t have even thought to do if I were spending all my time and energy trying to control it all myself. It’s a good life.”

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Tips From The Top: Build Your Own Brand

In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we invited Strategic Coach clients to share their secrets to success. The fourth in the series is written by Rob Saik, founder and CEO of Agri-Trend in Calgary, Alberta.
Everyone can pinpoint a moment when they’ve stumbled upon words of wisdom that altered their life path. Like a key opening a lock, it’s as if something just clicks, and all of a sudden, everything makes sense.
I fondly remember the words that were a game changer for me: “Build your own brand.”
These words came from Jack Donald, former president and CEO of Parkland Fuel Corporation, Canada’s largest independent marketer of fuels.
I was forty-one at the time, and I remember sitting next to Jack in awe. I had come to a crossroads in my career, not sure if I should take the harder route and go out on my own or merge with another company, and the wisdom he shared gave me the courage I needed to take the next step.
Our conversation about establishing a personal brand, even with the temptation of falling under a larger corporation, had a profound impact on me. I realized the importance of constructing a brand that would maintain the integrity of my vision. I built a brand, and a culture, and I’ll always defend it.
Agri-Trend Inc. was built and grown with a concentrated effort on extending my personal vision of the perfect brand. It was about much more than a logo to me.
I asked myself, “How do our clients feel? What tone does our company set with them? What is the culture around the brand? Is our team proud of what we’re doing?”
Regardless of who we’re collaborating with, we wanted our own message to stand out. We’re about fun, professionalism, pride, and, all in all, being a cutting-edge firm.
It’s important to me to be true to myself and my passion. My business revolves around who I am as a person, and I’m focused on creating value extending far beyond my company to the broader community by being a champion for agriculture.
My decision to trust my gut and listen to the advice from my mentor allowed me to grow Agri-Trend to meet my personal values—a good indication that success aligns with who are we internally. It’s a lesson in life and business.

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How To Be A Game Changer: The Strategic Coach Story

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe to the Inside Strategic Coach podcast on iTunes.
How To Be A Game Changer: The Strategic Coach Story

What allows people to jump to the next level in their careers? And what enables businesses to take a leap to their next stage of growth?
As I look back to the start of my coaching career, I can see a common trend in how I grew my personal and business capabilities and adapted to the needs of our clients in order to jump to the next level time and time again. And it’s happening again, with my newest level of coaching beginning in April 2018.
The birth of The Strategic Coach Program.
In the very beginning, I was a one-on-one coach, and after seven years of coaching individuals, my partner, Babs Smith, and I began a workshop style of coaching. This was the first of many jumps in my entrepreneurial coaching career.
These types of jumps have happened numerous times since as we’ve added new cities to coach in, new associate coaches, new programs, and new office locations.
Our newest and highest level program, the brand new Game Changer Jump Program, will be made up entirely of individuals who are all doing something to be a game changer in their own industries.
This concept is based on decades of learning and experience, and it feels as natural as any of the other jumps we’ve taken at Strategic Coach.
How to take the next step.
Since the start of Strategic Coach, every one of our workshops has included unique concepts and tools, and these are the building blocks our clients use to take them to higher and higher levels of freedom and success. These tools help them to increase their capability, change their game, and grow their businesses.
Over time, once a sufficient number of people in a workshop group have taken a jump to a new level, I’ll realize that we’re ready to create a higher level of the Program.
So the new programs we introduce aren’t departures from what we were already doing. They’re the furthest stretch of all of the concepts that have made up the Program thus far. We’re always innovating and moving toward that next jump, as our clients are doing the same thing in their businesses.
“When I create something new, I innovate forward and integrate backward.” – Dan SullivanClick To Tweet
How to be a game changer.
Every program we have leads clients to changing how they think about a system, changing the game of that system for them. I’ve realized that in what we do, there’s a constant layering of game changer concepts.
We’ve shown our clients how to take control of their time and how to spend as much time as possible doing what they love doing—just a couple of the game-changing concepts we coach. I implement every one of these changes in my own life before I decide to hold workshops about them. And I’ve watched entrepreneurs use these ideas to take their businesses to new levels, as I have.
From top to bottom, from our beginning to our furthest stretch out, Strategic Coach is a finely tuned, interactive network of game-changing concepts and tools that jump you from one level to the next.


Learn 8 key strategies for exponential growth and true freedom as an entrepreneur from top entrepreneur coach Dan Sullivan.


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