For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth

069: Confessions of a Level 2 Leader

February 15, 2021 Winston Faircloth Season 2 Episode 69
For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth
069: Confessions of a Level 2 Leader
Chapters
For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth
069: Confessions of a Level 2 Leader
Feb 15, 2021 Season 2 Episode 69
Winston Faircloth

Scroll through your favorite social media platform feed and you’ll find an unusually high percentage of perfectly arranged bookcases in the background, funny pets, and selfies captured with ideal lighting. 

Curated images.  

No one else sees the hundreds of deleted images taken and discarded before the “right” one shows up in your feed.  

It’s simple to present a polished image online...and all too easy to believe that if you just tried a little harder, pushed a little farther, hustled a little longer, you’d have the same magic unicorn success as the gurus whose ads show up over and over again. 

But no magic pills, potions, or unicorns will lead to success if you aren’t leading your team with the right heart. 

That’s why in this episode, you’ll get:

  • The true confessions of a Level 2 Leader 
  • Why “the customer is always right” may be dead wrong
  • How knowing the 3 levels of leaders may prevent burnout and chaos...and knowing that means you can take advantage of it today 
  • WHAT the two main roles in every business are, how they intersect and the exact question each one needs to take 100% responsibility for   
  • Three characteristics every successful leader needs to embrace


Plus how it all works together as a solid foundation for building and keeping a team you love.

****

When you’re ready to Multiply your Impact, your Income, your Margin and your Freedom in business, join hand-selected business owners just like you in an upcoming...

For Love of Team™ Intensive:

Coming to the Outer Banks, NC in May 2021 

Our intimate, immersive and interactive experience helps you:

1) Sharpen your focus by doing more of the work you love

2) Simplify your business processes. So that you can

3) Surround yourself with others doing the work that they love

For Love of Team™ Intensive is an invitation-only event.  To connect with Winston to see if this is a fit, book a 35 minute exploratory session using this link.  



Show Notes Transcript

Scroll through your favorite social media platform feed and you’ll find an unusually high percentage of perfectly arranged bookcases in the background, funny pets, and selfies captured with ideal lighting. 

Curated images.  

No one else sees the hundreds of deleted images taken and discarded before the “right” one shows up in your feed.  

It’s simple to present a polished image online...and all too easy to believe that if you just tried a little harder, pushed a little farther, hustled a little longer, you’d have the same magic unicorn success as the gurus whose ads show up over and over again. 

But no magic pills, potions, or unicorns will lead to success if you aren’t leading your team with the right heart. 

That’s why in this episode, you’ll get:

  • The true confessions of a Level 2 Leader 
  • Why “the customer is always right” may be dead wrong
  • How knowing the 3 levels of leaders may prevent burnout and chaos...and knowing that means you can take advantage of it today 
  • WHAT the two main roles in every business are, how they intersect and the exact question each one needs to take 100% responsibility for   
  • Three characteristics every successful leader needs to embrace


Plus how it all works together as a solid foundation for building and keeping a team you love.

****

When you’re ready to Multiply your Impact, your Income, your Margin and your Freedom in business, join hand-selected business owners just like you in an upcoming...

For Love of Team™ Intensive:

Coming to the Outer Banks, NC in May 2021 

Our intimate, immersive and interactive experience helps you:

1) Sharpen your focus by doing more of the work you love

2) Simplify your business processes. So that you can

3) Surround yourself with others doing the work that they love

For Love of Team™ Intensive is an invitation-only event.  To connect with Winston to see if this is a fit, book a 35 minute exploratory session using this link.  



Winston Faircloth:

Just because someone is providing needed resources in the form of payment doesn't mean that everything they want the day. Please put your product, your reputation, and most importantly, your team at risk. Hey there multipliers it's Winston Faircloth and welcome back to Episode 69 of the for love of team. This is the podcast where leaders simplify teamwork, helping you surround yourself with others doing the work they love, and simplifying your business processes so that you can serve more focused on the work that you love. Now, last time we examined for love of team journey thus far. And to recap, we began by talking about one of the biggest blind spots for early stage founders and building a business that they love. I use the term level three leader to challenge founders to love their teams, as much or more than they love their products and clients. And just to recap what those levels are level one is your love of product. We're idea people, we'd love to solve problems, seize opportunities, create solutions, and yet, we often have more ideas than bandwidth. And there's something about seeing a solution that others cannot see. And bringing that to the marketplace. It really drives many of us to get into business in the first place. Level Two is love of clients, you finally getting traction, money starting to flow and your ideas. Now serving others, the focus begins to shift to creating a client experience to be as good is your original product, idea or service. And we all know what remarkable client experience feels like. And we're committed to bringing that to our clients. And then level three love of team. And this is something I say all the time your client experience will only rise to the level of your team's satisfaction in your business. So surrounding yourself with people working in their gifting focused on a common mission allows you to spend more of your time working where you're most gifted. So for here at love for team, it comes down to three words, leaders simplify teamwork. So today I'm going to share the Confessions of a level two leader. That's me. Well, before we do, Don't you just love social media. Everything looks so perfect on the Instagrams and the Facebook's of the world. You'd never see a child melting down in the checkout line screaming for a distant candy bar just out of reach. Or you never see an airport arrival picture of your suitcase open on the baggage claim belt with your clothes strewn everywhere. Or how about the wakeup photos with your hair going in 20 different directions they always look so amazing waking up in the bed. Well well behaved children distant travel and restful sleep all look amazing on the Instagrams and the Facebook's. And in the weeks leading up to my next birthday coming up in March, I'm reading and following Wendy speaks newest book, The 40 day social media fast exchange your online distractions for real life devotion. I love this book. Every day, every morning, it brings another pearl another insight about the world of pretend on social media. And this morning's reading especially caught my attention. Here's the money quote from today. And I'm taking a couple of different sentences here. But this is this was amazing. Social media is not a goldmine. It's simply the display case. So good. Much of what we see on social media, I'm going to call curated lies are not little white lies may be good, but they're certainly not real life. And unfortunately, some of the same things are true and what we see in the online business world influencers, coaches, consultants, we all put our best foot forward. And yet when we watch their post, we see photoshoots mimicking real life, even from home offices during COVID. Except the lighting is stellar, and the placement is just so and even family pets play starring roles and that's innocent enough. But what is particularly jarring is the emphasis on top line revenue achievements or unicorn type results from their clients. It's easy to see posts where founders talk about their revenue milestones of six, seven and eight figure years or others reference their total revenue over several years as a way to build authority now fall into this trap myself in my own promotional efforts. Just a year ago, I started a Facebook community called future seven figure CEO and my email list swelled by the hundreds. But what we fail to share in these posts is the truth about our businesses. So today that's going to change here. And now with the Confessions of a level two leader I'm going to take you on a story on how I failed to see how a level three mindset would really propel our business and at four levels of team our mission is that everybody Business Owner not make the mistakes I'm about to share and get stuck at a level two leader position as I did is the founding CEO of a social technology enterprise that had revenue of over $4 million a year at our peak. And as a reminder, level two leaders love their clients and products to the detriment of their team. And I followed this path. So just unpacking my story level one loving my service. Now for years, I've been seeking help as a local CEO of an international nonprofit organization. In our branch, our location was working in a small college town, we needed help, we had big dreams for connecting with our community, yet, we had no access to the technology that larger, more sophisticated organizations had. And this was right at the beginning of the internet catching hold, and there's just so many new ways to connect in our communities. We were nimble, we were scrappy, yep. Ultimately, we were shut out of playing at a higher level. And as we tried to engage local businesses to help us they knew very little about our unique business model. And the premium we placed on efficiency, often at the expense of effectiveness, their learning curve was going to be too high and their price is going to be too much. So eventually, I found a willing partner in a sister organization to our north that was willing to provide us the access and services we needed. But there were challenges of making this scalable and sustainable, including the perception that the host organization would always get priority during crunch times of our little bitty contract. Well, I just intuitively knew that scalability ultimately depended upon creating an independent service focus day to day on this work instead of the work of the host, nonprofit organization. And eventually, we created one and I became the founding CEO. And I'm not a techie by nature. Anyone who's watched me handle incoming phone calls while I've got one already going on understands that I'm not the tackiest person you've ever met. Yet I had a deep understanding of the pain and the promise that shared technology services could solve. I just love creating these services, figuring out how to serve clients, and I was solidly a creative, entrepreneurial level one leader, eventually I progressed to level two. Sometime later, as we started expanding and growing beyond our initial group of pioneering clients, I began to love the process of meeting new people, new clients discovering their dreams and matching our services to their goals. Well, I don't know if you know much about the nonprofit space, but things move awfully slowly, especially when it comes to purchasing. So a promising conversation could take months to get to the negotiation stage, you'd have these great conversations and then they go ghost on you. And then all of a sudden, they pop back up months later. Last specifically remember to early conversations as I moved into little level two leadership. One was our very first new customer after our beta group. Now we were based in Cincinnati, and they were from Texas, and one day out of the blue. I'd met them conference months earlier. But one day, we got a call from them out of the blue, and they called to say that their board had approved the move to work with us. Well, this was a surprise. It was my first formal conversation about Terms of Service and pricing. And at the time, we didn't really have an affordable way that we could service them. Being so far away from us, almost all of our current clients were within a few hours drive. But eventually we solve this challenge. And because we did, we opened up the entire US as potential clients after this work with our friends from Texas. And second, we were approached by one of the largest potential clients in our target market, they ran an almost identical system to what we were providing for several of our clients at this point in our growth. They were so large and so well resourced. I never considered that our business model would be a great fit for them. Yet they were struggling to make their systems perform as well as ours and one day called us for advice in listening to it with our tech team. We offered to help them for free if it was a quick fix. And as it turns out, it was pretty easy to spot the challenge with a pair of fresh eyes. Six months later, they called and became our largest client ever. And then I became hooked on becoming a level two leader the client is always right. And customers are number one and there is whole bookshelves of books on this topic. Their courses and seminars that teach this is a constant drumbeat even hold departments in larger organizations are focused on quote, customer care. In quote, and yes, don't get me wrong. happy customers are the lifeblood of every business. reason we create products and solution, they pay our bills, they fund our team, they expand our reach, I'm not knocking a customer first mindset, except you can take it too far, there is a dark side of loving clients. And that comes when clients are prioritized to the exclusion of your products or team members. And just because someone is providing needed resources in the form of payment doesn't mean that everything they want rules the day, especially in technology or professional services demands change the intended use case regularly exceeding reasonable boundaries, demanding immediate customer response when they're paying for a standard scalable service. Well, these put your product, your reputation, and most importantly, your team at risk. Now back then, this is about 10 years ago, I was so afraid of disappointing our clients. And because honestly, I lived and breathed and embodied a scarcity mentality myself, I would press our team to make accommodations bending to their preferences. Now I'm picking that word carefully, intentionally, preferences. Now flipping the seat for a second. As clients, we always want our way we want things our way we're paying good money for service, we also want the lowest price. And we also want it as fast as possible. And even though as an organization, we were pulling in about $4 million plus a year in revenue, we work dwarfed by the size and magnitude of clients who were sometimes 10 times larger than us and what was once a very cohesive, highly functional team began to wear down. Under the load of unreasonable client demands. Even worse, these client demands were unshielded by the founding CEO, now had preferences truly been deemed the requirements needed by many clients, we could have easily accommodated that as a service upgrade. But preferences are just that individual desires that are outside the agreed upon scope of work. You've heard of project creep, you've heard of scope, creep preferences. There they sometimes those preferences lead to really productive upgrades. But managing that set of expectations and managing those relationships are so critical over time, because I was not a level three leader, I was clients first, whatever it took, let's run through the wall for them. Over time, these incessant requests took a fatal toll on our culture, a plus players began to leave in their place, we attracted people who are less connected to our mission and purpose. And slowly, inevitably, we lost our heart and soul at what I had once dreamed of many years before as a service designed and built just for us just for these clients became a nightmare of toxicity. Unless you think I'm being overly dramatic. Towards the end of my tenure, we had two of my direct reports literally threatening each other. And we had to exit both one at a time before I decided to leave a few months later. Now I'm not proud of this part of my career, not proud of these choices, how my decisions and more importantly, my indecisions made life miserable for our core group of team members, pioneers who took a chance who took a career chance to join our little startup our little mission and how a customer first mindset can grow and lead to unintended consequences when taken to an extreme. Well, I now have the perspective. Five years later, a new CEO is at the helm, who understands the need for client boundaries and how a team first culture wins in today's marketplace. He was there with us during those dark days. And I'm sure he took note of what he would do differently if given the chance. And I'm really proud of the work that he's done with our original vision and more importantly, how he shifted the culture distance. Yes, perspective about these days is a lesson I will never forget. And this fuels my desire to help you as a founder grow beyond being a level two client first leader. I have no doubt in retrospect, that had I leveled up to love my team as much or more than my products are clients that we'd be celebrating 20 years as founder today, and that we easily be running and managing an eight figure business by now. But the kind of damage left in the wake of being a client first business takes time to unwind and repair. I want you to learn from my experience, you can avoid this painful, painful phase in your business. It may not be inevitable with intention. And heart because your client care can never exceed how well you treat your team. A team first business with a plus players takes your baby your products takes your clients to a completely new and amazing level. So Fran, I'm curious about where you are on your journey in building a team that you love. I believe that this is the path to multiply your impact your income, your margin, and and, and more importantly your freedom in business. Imagine a world where you are surrounding yourself with others doing the work that they love, simplifying your business processes so that you can serve more focused on the work that you love. This world is available to us the founder, it takes focus and intentionality. So I want to hear from you. Let me know what you think about my my Confessions of a level two leader texted me right now. 1-754-800-9461 that's 1-754-800-9461 there's no bots, no autoresponders on the other end, it's just me. So share your name and your story. I really want to hear from you. This us text number again is 1-754-800-9461 and if you prefer call and leave a voicemail message 1-754-800-9461 And remember, leaders simplified teamwork, multiplying your impact your income margin and freedom and dismiss can't wait to catch you on the next episode.