Problem solving and coaching are two of the most imporatant pieces an organization's leadership needs to navigate. Jeff Weiner discusses how developing successful leadership involves coacing other people to solve problems and how taking buffer time durring the day helps him synthesize and think proactively.
- So I guess it begins with recognition that two of the most important continuums an Organizational Leadership Team need to navigate as they achieve critical mass and scale, are first, this idea that there's a continuum with problem solving on the one end and coaching on the other. And the second continuum where you have tactical execution on one end and you have proactive strategy on the other end. And when cultivating and developing a leadership team, one of the first things that you need to do is make sure the leadership understands the importance of coaching.
And what happens is, more often than not, a startup, say, with 15 people is successful because the founders and those founding employees are really good at solving problems and getting shit done. And so as the organization continues to scale, they knee-jerk to that aptitude. They knee-jerk to that skill set. After all, it's one of the reasons they've been successful. But as you're adding people into the organization as soon as they experience a problem, they come to you as a leader and if you're knee jerking, solving the problem for them, the next time they experience the problem what do you think they're going to do? They're going to come right back to you.
And so if you can take the time and start to evolve along that continuum and recognize the fact that you have a great skill at solving problems but you need to really invest in coaching other people to solve the problems for themselves. That's where you start to achieve real scale at the leadership level. And it gets even better when you can coach others to coach their teams. That's when you achieve true scale. Separately, you've got tactical execution and proactive strategic thinking.
And that requires time. So to make that shift, you know, executing to something that teams get really good at as they are achieving success. Otherwise they wouldn't be having that success. And you have to carve out cycles. You have to, I like to bake in about 90 minutes of buffer time in my daily schedule. And that's time where I can catch my breath. I can connect dots. I can synthesize. I can catch up. I can have extemporaneous discussions. That's time where I can start to think proactively.
And if you're not carving out the time to think proactively, it's going to be really difficult to lead the organization. Because you're going to be constantly firefighting and constantly reacting. So you want to be able to take the time to start to think ahead. And so you can lead the organization in that direction. As opposed to, unfortunately, playing catch up with your competitors. Because once you start playing their game and reacting to their moves, it's basically game over. So both of these continuums require a shift. When you're a 15 person company, what it takes to be successful as a 15 person company, you better be good at problem solving and getting shit done.
That's a huge part of it. You have a vision, you have a concept. You got to build the prototype, you got to raise the financing, you got to hire the, I mean it's like, boom, boom, boom. And as you start to get bigger, as you start to reach that, kind of, scale of critical mass, you need to start to begin that evolution across, at least, those two continuums.
- Defining the vision
- Fostering a healthy culture
- Growing a leadership team
- Planning with critical mass and scale in mind
- Coaching others to be able to solve problems
- Evolving communication strategies
- Maintaining focus during change
- Hiring smart at scale
- Empowering talented people