When someone asks me to mentor them, getting to know them better is always the first step. I love meeting entrepreneurs and learn about what they do. That doesn’t stop at the basics of how their business operates.
It never ceases to amaze me how many leaders aren’t looking for actual solutions. They’re looking to hire someone to fix their problems for them. What many leaders don’t realize is that they are the problem.
Great culture doesn’t come from turnkey solutions
With the recent #MeToo movement, a disturbing number of high-profile people have been ousted from their positions of power. In their numbers for the 2018 fiscal year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported a 12% increase over 2017.
The Hollywood stars, journalists, and politicians accused of misconduct didn’t only recently become an issue. It was a long-term problem that only recently started to come to light.
Long-term problems aren’t solved overnight. When the problem is systemic as it is for many companies and industries that have tolerated such behavior over the years, the system needs to change.
Target the root cause, not the symptom
Like the previous point, too many leaders try to treat the symptoms. Surface-level fixes may make things better for a time, but they’re not resolving the root cause.
Even when you let toxic employees go, they made it through your hiring process once. If you’re not committed to hiring and firing by your core values, the likelihood goes way up of your hiring more toxic employees to replace those you just let go.
The buck stops here
President Truman’s famous sign served as a reminder who was ultimately responsible. At the end of the day, the blame game doesn’t fix your business.
You’re the leader of the company. That means when you have a culture problem, it’s your policies and procedures that let them happen or even contributed to them.
Likewise, you’re the one who needs to act to fix them.
There are definitely some inexperienced coaches out there with poor advice. For over two decades I’ve seen both sides: As an entrepreneur hiring coaches and as a coach helping entrepreneurs. In that time, the most common reason I’ve seen culture coaches fail is because of leadership. Too many leaders wait until the problem is too large and only hire someone as a reaction to a major problem.
It’s more of a marketing ploy than anything else — a way to save face publicly. For leaders, the problem is the employees. For employees, the problem is leadership.
Caught in a stalemate, your business growth flounders while everyone blames each other. As the leader, the buck stops with you. If leadership is unable or unwilling to change, your culture coach can’t help you.