I work all day long with banks, developers, fintechs, and independent sales organizations in the payments space. The inside view of how they have organized their business, their KPIs, their marketing and sales teams, and other factors lead me to identify three serious errors some of these entrepreneurial organizations tend to make.
1. They lead with marketing, sales, and growth objectives rather than with values. Rather than set down who they are and what values they embrace, they move right into the serious work of how to grow their business.
They fail to first answer the important questions, “What are we all about?” “What do we stand for?”
Without setting down their identity and their values, how will they be able to identify objectives, plans, programs, and standards that fulfill the company’s central mission? How will they know which leaders fit in their organization and which do not?
Steve Jobs addressed this issue when he came back into the Apple organization in 1997. See the video – Best Marketing Strategy Ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrZKoWgcZVg
2. As they develop their business, they fail to emphasize the critical process of developing leaders within their organization.
Every entrepreneurial leader must become a leader of leaders. Without this critical development effort, the entrepreneurial organization can’t progress.
I see this play out most often in independent sales organizations (ISOs) selling merchant services. Owners of ISOs start out working ten hours a day, five days a week, and sell several hundred merchants on their processing. To grow their organization, they bring in other sales staff but that leads them to working twelve-hour days, six days a week. The owner doubles down on subordinates and fails to develop leaders. Pretty soon the owner is exhausted and trapped by a system of their own design.
Developing leaders isn’t easy, but it can be learned. The leaders must understand and embrace the identity and values of the organization. They have to want to carry out the mission of the organization. And they have to commit to taking on the role of the leader within their workgroup and commit to the mission.
3. Some entrepreneurs try to go it alone. The fact is, no one succeeds alone. Every champion is the result of a team effort – a support structure that enables the person to attain their best performance. Spouses, parents, colleagues, coaches, teachers, admins, co-workers, support staff, and yes, consultants, all play a critical role in success. Without these team members, we don’t make it very far. They often don’t re-invest earnings in developing the organization. They fail to build the team that is necessary to get to the next level of success.
So how do we fix this?
Well, first we get some help. We find resources that can help us rethink and restructure. We invest in people and companies that can guide us on the path to defining who we are and what we stand for. We pull our leadership team together and define what leadership means for our mission and our organization. We commit to supporting each other in our mission.
At Field Guide, we’ve been coaching and consulting with payments organizations for 18 years. If you’d like to discuss what we might work on together, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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