4 Pitfalls of High Performers | Xquadrant

4 Pitfalls of High Performers

How to avoid the common traps that limit C-suite leaders' future success

You’re a high achieving founder/executive with an impressive track record.

You’re a quick-thinking strategic problem solver. You love the challenge of fast-moving, complex situations. You’re always among the first to catch a vision.

But despite that, you don’t feel that special inside because of the deep sense that you could achieve so much more. You know you’re playing too small a game.

Sounds familiar? You’re not alone.

In my coaching and consulting work with incredibly impressive founders/C-Suite leaders and their teams, I’ve found four main pitfalls keep high performers from achieving their potential.

In this document, I describe these pitfalls.

You won’t necessarily find all apply to you. But my clients have demonstrated that when you overcome your top 1-2 issues on this list, your world and your legacy transform.

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1. You’re not tapping into your ‘rocket fuel'

You may have a great role that’s grown stale, despite being objectively “awesome” (prestigious, well paid). Perhaps you suddenly feel a sense of stagnation. Or you have a gnawing dissatisfaction that you’re not on a meaningful mission.

There can be a lot of fear. By most standards, you’re flying high. So it feels you have a lot to lose: self esteem, a stable financial situation. This can cripple your ability to make inspiring career leaps and push you into playing it safe and looking for incremental opportunities rather than exponential success.

The secret truth is, you’re desperate for greater, more significant, impact - but there’s a fear that if you reach for it you might actually come up short for the first time in your life, or the cost might be too great.

If this is you…

  • It’s time to connect with your “North Star” and find a personal mission that’s so compelling that NOTHING will stop you.
  • Take time to explore alternative projects and “future selves”. You’re probably a fast-mover, but here, taking time will be essential.
  • Recommended resource: Career Transitions: Exponential strategies for high performers.

2. You’re missing a thinking environment

If you’re isolated and overloaded, you’ll find that you aren’t able to do the ‘next-level thinking’ you need to make big progress on your strategic goals.

You may find yourself isolated because there are complex high-stakes decisions to be taken, and few neutral voices available. Often, there’s no real challenge to your viewpoint.

Like many leaders, you may feel overloaded. You, and everyone around you, are maxed out. However, you know it’s not sustainable and that it will take a toll on health and family.

Often whole organisations are like this: everyone is maxed out on operational issues, and the deep thinking isn’t happening. There’s progress, but it’s too slow and incredibly hard work.

If this is you…

  • Create a thinking environment – ring-fenced time to process the big issues that need addressing. Get an executive coach, or get together with someone you respect outside the organisation who can act as a strategic sounding-board.
  • Recommended resource: Strategic Breakthrough Consultation.

3. Your leadership team isn’t a true team

Your direct reports are one of your key levers to scale impact. Many founders and execs are happy with the individuals – but are frustrated at the lack of cohesion in the team as a whole.

You know the situation. Everyone is a high performer, but it doesn’t feel like a high-performing team:

  • There’s not enough ownership and collective responsibility. Everyone focuses on their functional silo, leaving you to be the glue that holds everything together.
  • Meetings are ‘meh’, missing a sense of momentum, focus and bold decision-making.
  • There aren’t ‘courageous conversations’ on key issues.
  • 20% of people do 80% of the talking.

If this is you…

  • It’s time to establish a blueprint for HOW the team operates (and not just WHAT the team does).
  • On a personal level, take a look at how much you set vision and problem-solve for your team, rather than encouraging them to develop their own goals and solve their own problems. Most high-performing leaders disempower their own teams without noticing it.
  • Recommended resource: Leadership team meetings: How to have better discussions.

4. You’ve not mastered “scalability"

You need to grow or lead change across an organisation and you have a strong, cohesive “inner circle” - but you’re not sure their teams are truly aligned.

There isn’t the right degree of focus, and there’s also pockets of resistance in various places. You don’t feel everyone ‘gets it’.

Your managers aren’t managing their teams with the strategic focus, empowerment and clarity of message that you need.

Overall, the organisation feels like it’s missing a ‘central nervous structure’. It’s hard to control, especially with people working remotely and in many locations.

If this is you…

  • Think about whether your organisation has a consistent, objective leadership culture across all levels. How are you creating consistency in behaviour and leadership mindset across offices, teams and divisions?
  • Consider what mechanisms you have in place to multiply skillsets and mindsets across the organisation.
  • Recommended resource: Scaling a company: why leaders in tech fail to capture the market.

So…. which of these is your biggest issue right now?

  • CLARITY: You’re not tapping into your ‘rocket fuel’
  • OVERLOAD: You’re missing a thinking environment
  • OWNERSHIP: Your leadership team isn’t a true team
  • ALIGNMENT: You’ve not mastered “scalability"

We’d like to offer you fresh perspective and best practices to overcome these obstacles.

If you want to identify or deliver a big strategic objective for your or your organisation in the next 12 months, apply for a complimentary 1:1 consulting call here:

We’ll roll up our sleeves, push your thinking and find some practical steps. There’s no hard sell or obligation to buy anything.

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Richard Medcalf
 

Richard Medcalf is Founder & CEO of Xquadrant. Having held senior positions in both the professional services and tech sectors, he's committed himself to improving the quality of leadership and organisational performance around the world. The way to his heart is through curry.

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