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Managing Teams

Behind every high performing team, there is a crazy CEO

Behind every high performing team, there is a crazy CEO
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Every time I set myself to write something new to help new guys who are adopting entrepreneurship, it feels like evolving myself. I trust learning lessons from the past. Moreover, helping others in using your past experience improves your own intellectual self. Life, in general, is like a college, everyday a new lesson. So learning is inevitable for every curious person. That’s my story, every time I write.

CEOs face almost similar situation in their everyday life. They are accountable for organization’s performance, and largely depend on their teams to accomplish desired results, so coaching is part of their job. Some of the most acclaimed CEOs play coach to their team. They help their team in learning new things, advice a lot, and analyze their performance. But, my story is a bit different.

CEOs are normally blunt. They are sharp. They are chasing their goals day and night. They miss their meals. They not only coach but enforce you to learn. They are so focused and passionate to achieve their goals that they don’t bother about having a great reputation within their team. They are often topics of water-cooler-gossips, and usually end up gaining reputation of a workaholic if not “a stupid”.

So how do Gaurav Pandey’s stupid CEOs look like? Let’s explore. Does he rehearse every time he meets his team?...Seriously? A little bit, yes. He is crazy and wants to keep internal communication crystal clear. He understands that internal communication isn’t about shooting an email to everyone, only.

Generally when we talk about internal communications, we imagine it is all about keeping everyone informed about everything happening in every corner of office. So we start bombarding everyone with emails. The worst is using Gmail as the internal communication tool.  But the stupid CEOs know that internal communication is about selling his vision, and talking at the right frequency. Not his, not his team’s, but at just the perfect frequency. What does that mean?

CEOs are path finders and always energized with their series of new grand ideas, involving different teams, with gutsy presumptions and loose calculations over fingers. Then they are curious to share it with their team. So they call a meet, a quick meet. And tells everyone what he thinks, and how the end result should look like. Exciting?

The problem starts once the CEO is done speaking, because now the team wants to know their responsibilities? You might be envisioning the entire picture, but your team members are reading your story individually and imagining their part only.  My stupid CEOs know this crack, thus they rehearse almost every detail that team may want to understand. Who all shall be there… Why?... And what sort of details will be required for them to accept my ‘Grand Idea’.

Hearing doesn’t guarantee acceptance. And without total belief, your team members will only act as your hands, not brains. You will lose the original ideas, discovering capabilities, experimental instinct, validation quest, and the 360 degree perspective to your idea. All that you will end up with is your inferior quality gofer delegation. A stupid leader only questions, never answers.

Apple’s founder Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do?” Does it happen to you as well, that even after hiring great people in your team, you don’t find enough time in a day? In fact, there comes a point where you halt hiring out of your fear that it will make you even busier. Just hiring more people won’t solve problems, since the problem is within you.  You doubt your hiring.

You don’t think your team members can understand & act on things as passionately as you can, and that’s why you get into nitty-gritty, leaving you less or no time to attend more important things.

So why do we recruit?

We recruit so that we can utilize that time in making essential decisions while we delegate the less important decision-making at various levels of hierarchy. However, if you are constantly responding to every little thing, the team will continue to depend on you for even minute tasks. They won’t try on their own, ever. And this is bad. This is like working for your team, and paying them too.

My stupid CEOs ask too many questions to their team to help them attain clarity of purpose, encourage them to do their own home work, analyze various solutions and bring options to choose from. Yes, that stupid CEO, never supplies a direct answer, only a question. It may take a little longer to get things done this way, but actually it instills self-driven determination in your team. This is crucial for high performing organizations, where you make best out of every mind that is hired.

A stupid CEO will hate meetings. But no meeting looks like doing no work. It only seems like that. Nonetheless, crazy yet sensible CEOs have a very different approach to meetings. Their main concern is ‘Why conduct meetings?’ Imagine paying extra per hour rate to everyone attending your meeting? Will you still conduct meetings the same way as you do currently?

No, this time you will ask yourself that ‘Do I seriously need this meeting, and if yes, then how to make most out of it?’ Ten people in a meeting can’t decide anything. They can only talk (we call it discussion, technically). A wise CEO will do his home work before meetings, and make his team do so too. Meeting calls are only to collect everyone’s ideas and thoughts which can be used later to form a decision. So next time you call a meeting, try calculating the RoI on attendees.

These so-called ‘crazy or stupid’ CEOs choose to behave the way they do, to make their team take the ultimate lead, expedite execution by doing their home work, and bring in better solutions to problems. What else could be a better way to create entrepreneurs and leaders within an organization?