The Challenge Defined

Before you read any further, pull a piece of paper and identify whether these traits apply to you:

  • Being a good, continuous learner.
  • Being able to focus outward.
  • Being comfortable with chaos.
  • Being ready to embrace mistakes, even if some of them are made more than once.
  • Being understanding and flexible.

It’s important that the CEO complies with most of the statements above, otherwise the leadership role will not be very fulfilling. The reality of running a business is that you have to deal with a lot of uncertainty, especially in the early stages of growth. While chaos is unavoidable, the organization can and should learn how to minimize its impact. This challenge is more about what you are thinking of the company versus what is happening in the company.

Chaos affects start-ups and established businesses alike, and has two primary phases:

Wind Tunnel. Wind Tunnel is the transition zone where a company can no longer hold on to its methodologies and must embrace new ones. This alone creates an environment of change, which is difficult to accept.

Flood Zone. Flood Zone is the transition zone where the level of overall activity is increasing. There are more people, more processes, and more customers – in general employees will feel like they are drowning in the amounts of information.  

A leader needs to be willing to accept, embrace, and work through both phases in order to navigate any kind of progress effectively.

How to Overcome This Challenge

Start talking about successes and failures with your team. People who joined a company early on in its lifecycle get inspired by your vision, your passion and your energy, so they want to be a part of all that. Allow vulnerable moments, ask how your fellow co-workers feel and let them help you find the solution.

By communicating consistently and honestly, chaos will soon become a friend who pushes you to reach new heights. As an entire company, during department meetings and one-on-one sessions, address arising challenges as soon as possible.

Critical Questions to Ask

  • What does the organization want to become in the future?
  • Where does the company really excel?
  • What does the company offer that the market wants or needs?
  • Why would people work for the company?
  • What are the company’s values?
  • What types of behaviors are encouraged?
  • What kind of behaviors are discouraged?
  • Why are we experiencing the type of chaos we have today?
  • Why is it a good thing to have chaos?
  • What can we do to minimize the impact the chaos has on us?

Need help with this topic or leadership coaching? Contact Mission Critical Teams.

More business challenges are covered in the next blog. Follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter for updates!