BOUNDARIES GET A BAD RAP.
We don’t like to think of ourselves as fenced in, hemmed in, cooped up, or confined. But the truth is that boundaries are a good thing, especially for leaders. As Dr. Henry Cloud describes in his book, Boundaries for Leaders, the leader of a firm is “ridiculously in charge.” If you don’t like the way something is happening in your firm, it’s up to you to change it. According to Dr. Cloud, boundaries are the “structures that determine what exists and what does not.” Establishing and upholding boundaries for your firm can create consistency, stability, and security during change if done correctly.
BOUNDARIES CREATE CONSISTENCY.
The consistency of a liquid is a description of how the particles hold together. It’s their conformity with one another. How well is your firm holding together? Some firms struggle with disunity as a result of complaining or gossiping. Others struggle with a lack of teamwork. If that is the case in your firm, what boundaries can you put in place to change the tone of the office? Radio talk show host Dave Ramsey allows absolutely no gossiping in his company. None. If an employee is caught gossiping he gets one warning. After that, the employee is fired. The “no gossiping” boundary has intentionally created a teamwork environment that builds others up and doesn’t tear each other down.
BOUNDARIES MAINTAIN STABILITY.
Stability is when something is firmly established and not likely to change or fail. It sounds counterintuitive to uphold stability in the midst of change, but in order for your firm to successfully weather change, there need to be elements of stability. For example, if your firm is ready to switch to niche marketing, in order to maintain stability (and your employees’ sanity) during the change, you will have to create boundaries by saying “no” to other changes. This would not be the time to implement a new software program or move office buildings.
BOUNDARIES GIVE YOUR EMPLOYEES SECURITY.
Security is the freedom from risk or danger. It the safe haven from which confidence can flow. If you create and maintain proper boundaries in your firm, your employees will be free to do their best work. If they are unsure of what to expect from your leadership, they will need to spend their energy figuring out what you mean or what you want as opposed to doing their best work for your clients. Dr. Henry Cloud says,
The leader’s job is to lead in ways such that people can do what they are best at doing: using their gifts and their brains to get great results.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR FIRM?
What can be pruned in order to make way for focused growth? It’s up to you, the leader, to create an insightful, strategic plan and to lead your people through the changes.
If you need a sounding board or advice about what to prune and how to do it, contact me. I can help you step back from the landscaping and identify where pruning needs to take place.