What Got You Here Will Keep You Here, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know & The A3 Player
19 November 2023 Newsletter
“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.” Arthur Conan Doyle
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been a productive week – I hope yours was also.
What Got You Here Will Keep You Here
What got you here will keep you here.
It’s a statement used in the book explaining how the habits, tools and effort that got you to the point you’re at will keep you at the point you’re at. And I’ve been contemplating that it’s a subtle difference from the Marshall Goldsmith book What got you here won’t get you there.
At first glance, there doesn’t even seem to be a difference.
Yet, the more I think about it, “won’t get you there” implies you know where you want to go. It implies that you know the goal and direction but need a different approach.
Yet “will keep you here” implies it will prevent you from even knowing that more, better, higher is possible.
It really enacts the power of you don’t know what you don’t know.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
As a leader, what is the value of being surrounded by a competent and wise team?
We spend a lot of time talking about A players, ensuring that you surround yourself with the right people doing the right things in the right way.
In his book The E Myth, Michael Gerber outlined the fatal assumption in business.
From the book:
“That Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.”
This is why, every quarter, we set Personal Professional Development goals with leadership team members. Often, leaders are highly competent in their field of expertise, yet much of the business and leadership frameworks we utilise are new to them. Equally, the challenges they experience as the business scales are often new to them.
The faster your business is growing, the faster the leadership team must learn.
Consider this. If, over the past 12 quarters your leadership team had each read 12 of the most relevant leadership and management books to your situation, you would have a wealth of competence and wisdom within the team to make better and faster decisions. For at the moment, unless your leadership team can learn faster than your growth trajectory, what got you here will keep you here.
The A3 Player
A business is just a group of people doing stuff.
We come together and create structures and rules and policies.
And when leaders have ambition, as they most often do, we want to do more stuff. We want to do it more effectively and more efficiently. We want more customers, more revenue and more profit.
Yet sometimes, as ambitious teams seek more, some people can hit their ceiling.
They are great in their current role but incapable of the next role that the business demands from them. The company needs a role at the next growth stage, but the person in the current role can’t get there.
In a different take to the phrase above, they got you here and will keep you here.
You might feel it in your gut, but you don’t know what to do about it.
If you find yourself in this scenario, an idea might be to build a role scorecard for the role at your planned revenue level. For example, in talking with a CEO this week, they plan to triple revenue within two years and are concerned about a key leader. So, we built a scorecard for the role the CEO was concerned about at that higher revenue level, as they will have many more direct reports.
Then, we asked the three key questions about the person relative to the role;
- Are they capable of succeeding in that new role?
- Do they understand how to succeed in that new role?
- Do they want to succeed in that new role?
As it did for this leader, you will then have an idea whether that person who got you here will keep you here, or get you there.
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