As I sat at my desk this Monday morning, coffee ready, task list in front of me the phone rang. The voice on the other end was somewhat familiar but something was off. “Laurie, this is Henry.”

I felt my eyes squint with concern and questioning, “Henry, what’s going on?”

“I have had it; I have built this business over the past 15 years and whatever I do to get me out of the operation I keep getting sucked back in. I planned a 3 week vacation with my wife and grand-kids and I had to come back to town every week to put out fires. I am so frustrated and angry right now that I want to simply walk away.”

Background on Henry and His Company

As Henry’s coach, I know him well. At the time we met his growing business needed change. He knew that the organization had grown to the point that their “fly by the seat of our pants” mentality was getting in their way. He has made great changes in his organization. “I have set up procedures to assure customer orders are systematized, I have positioned my people in management and leadership roles; done all of the things I am supposed to do but it is still not working”. Henry told me.

Over the phone I sensed tears welling up in him as he pleads, “What am I missing?”

The Success Formula

“Henry, do you remember the success formula we used, BE X DO = HAVE?” “I sure do. It is a formula that taught me that if I want to have the freedom and time that I so want; I have to do certain things and change the way I think in order to get there. And I have done a lot. I have made significant organizational changes. It’s like we are all dressed for the dance but the orchestra has not shown up.” “Henry, yes you have made great changes on the DOing side of the formula. You have systematized your business and you would not have even considered planning a three week trip a year ago so you must be doing some things well. Tell me the changes you have made in who you are BEing (or thinking). If we look more closely at the formula, BE X DO = HAVE right now tell me how much effort you have put into the scoring.”

“I see where you are going with this, Laurie. If I am after a score of 100 then I have likely put 8 into doing and only 3 into being. That gives me a whopping score of 24. I continue to micro manage them and check in with them when I’m not there. I want to trust that the team I have worked so hard with is competent and able to run the business, but what if they are not? I am afraid they will fail me and then I’ll really be stuck. Bottom line, they are frustrated and so am I. “ “Sounds like you are real predicament Henry. If we go to the formula again, what is your next step?”

Next Steps

“If I truly want my freedom and time, then it is time to work on me. My team is the orchestra at the dance and I have locked the door to the event. They can’t show up because I won’t allow it. The actions I will take are to meet with my management team and apologize for my mistrust. I will share with them my problem and we will come up with a solution and plan for my exit together. I know it will take time but I have a goal that within 6 months I take that trip and leave my mobile at home.”

“Good work Henry.”

“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole person.”  ― Maya Angelou

The Not So Secret Success Formula (Part II)