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Turns out, I’m a micromanager

How do you let go of the vine? This is something I’ve been struggling with recently.

I love to read books and bring the knowledge to FringeSport to change the company and to make it better. I’ve long been a fan of Verne Harnish and his “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” book. He recently updated it into a new book called “Scaling Up,” which I’ve also enjoyed.

Out of this type of mindset has come another book that is in vogue for the entrepreneur set. It’s called “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business,” by Gino Wickman. In “Traction,” Wickman explains “EOS,” the Entrepreneurial Operating System.

There are many steps to EOS. One of them is the “Vision Traction Organizer,” which is a one-page document to communicate to employees your (i) strategic vision, (ii) core values, (iii) marketing strategy, (iv) 10-year vision, (v) three-year vision, (vi) one-year vision, and (vii) three-month vision.

How do you let go of the vine?

There are seemingly a million books about how to create and implement core values. There are also many books on vision and how to break that down.

But the components of EOS as listed above are valuable and useful for FringeSport. Among other things, I struggle with the fact that the vision that seems so clear in my head is often fuzzy when I discuss it with my team.

Why FringeSport?

I have been thinking about the “why” of FringeSport. The company’s purpose is to help people improve their lives through strength and conditioning. We do this by leading the garage gym revolution and by helping entrepreneurs build amazing gyms in their communities.

And I am clear on FringeSport’s “what”: Provide great gear at a great price and backing it with world-class customer service.

But there’s still something missing.

Getting out of the way

Lately I’ve been struggling with something that’s explained in the second chapter of “Traction”: letting go of the vine. What that means to me is getting out of the way of my team and letting them do what they’re best at.

In other words, instead of micromanaging and being involved in everything for my team, I should create the accountability and the structure for them to create excellence in the areas for which they are responsible.

When I first read “Traction,” I thought that letting go of the vine doesn’t apply to me.  “I’m not this guy,” I assumed. But a year and many conversations with my team later, I understand.

I am that guy.

I never thought that I was a micromanager. It turns out that I am. When I need to be involved in all the decisions of my team — I worry about them making the wrong decision or I worry about tweaks around the edges —  that’s micromanaging. It doesn’t feel great for me, and it doesn’t feel great to them. It feels like a lack of trust.

So how do I create accountability for my team while allowing them to do what they do best?

What I’ve come up with thus far goes back to that old saying about delegation rather than abdication. I’ve been creating the accountability around key areas and then coaching the employees on how to meet the goals that we have mutually set — based on my vision of where we’re going and what we need to do for our customers.

This is scary for me. I have done much self-reflection. I’ve long been a high performer as an individual contributor. Even when I thought I was an effective leader, I was performing many tasks myself rather than leading, managing, and orchestrating the talents of my team. But there’s only so far that a high performing people can go before they reach their ceiling. We’re close to reaching my ceiling.

However, by letting go of the vine the ceiling for an individual contributor can become the floor for a good manager and leader. This is what I’m working on now.

Peter Keller
Peter Keller
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