I had breakfast with one of the gentlemen on my A List and he runs a large 17 year old agency that has 3 national offices, over 80 employees, and works with companies like Chick-fil-a, Coke, American Express, Delta, and more. He launched it when he was 31 years old, married with two kids and one on the way.
Wow. It was all I could do but pay attention as I scribbled out notes in my Action Journal!
But one of the things that he said resounded with me and had enough initial impact to, at least for the time being, reflect on publicly. He told me this in terms of leadership and leading a company:
Ownership requires a lighter grip.
The context of this point was that if I were to do my greatest work and become the leader that I want to become then I need to continue to practice the fine art of “loosening” my grip on the company, it’s direction, my staff and employees, and even (perhaps) the overall vision and direction of the business.
When that happens, he said, it would allow for innovation, inspiration, and a little bit of breathing room for change to occur, naturally and organically. The tighter the grip one has the less opportunity you leave for the serendipitous to happen.
I couldn’t agree more but at the same I know (as well as he) that believing it doesn’t mitigate the fact that it’s really, really, hard to do in practice.
We all want to control our destinies, our companies, our projects, and even our small (and sometimes lonely) blogs, but we must remember to lighten our grip a bit and give them room to breathe; room to live and allow room for the serendipitous to occur.
We might even find greater happiness when this is manifested as well. I can share from my own experience that allowing my partners to do what they do best (and getting out of their way) has helped me grip less tightly the startups that I lead and the result is greater work and even greater profitability.
I think we all can be reminded to “loosen up” a bit, right?