In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- How to tell if it’s time to step down from a leadership role
- Why listening and accountability are indispensable leadership attributes
- Personal development drives strong leadership and entrepreneurial success
Mike Paton (pronounced “Payton”) is an award-winning speaker, author, EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating Systems) Implementer. His job: help entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses and teach practical tools that help leaders get unstuck.
Paton shares how EOS has helped him navigate his own leadership. Formerly, he was EOS’s visionary — a role similar to CEO — in which he was responsible for developing the company’s long-term vision and goals.
He started to feel spread thin and realized that he was beginning to do less of the work he loved: teaching entrepreneurs how to implement EOS.
Paton teaches that when a visionary’s passion begins to divorce from his actual work, something has to change. So, practiced what he preached and stepped down — and he attests it has been the best decision he could have made for the company and his family. Today, Paton focuses on coaching entrepreneurs and spreading the news about EOS internationally.
Paton spent the early part of his career in sales and marketing, which gave him a crucial leadership skill: Listening. If you can listen to others well, you will be able to solve their problems better than the competition. And, thankfully, listening is something that can be learned.
“Learning to get better at things that are important to other people is probably something you ought to put in your list of things to do regularly.”
Good Leaders Aren’t Perfect Leaders
Paton acknowledges that striving for complete perfection has often caused him to feel stuck as a leader.
“I often get stuck because I let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘done’.”
Mistakes are part of every successful business. The sooner a leader can learn that, the stronger their business will be.
Structure First, People Second
One major hurdle Paton sees entrepreneurs face is how to lead others effectively.
“The ability to reprogram yourself from an individual competitor to a person leading a team that’s competing as a unit requires massive change and massive personal development.”
Learning to lead others is not for the faint of heart. Paton cites research that shows that 82% of entrepreneurs find people to be their biggest challenge.
He advises that entrepreneurs pay attention to the structure of their business first, then how people fit into that — not the other way around.
“Until you have the right structure, you can’t make an effective decision about who the most valuable people in your organization are because you’re basing it on some historical data and not on what your business needs today.”
Businesses need to change if they want to succeed.
Paton believes there are some consistent attributes that make great leaders: They must be accountable to others, delegate responsibility and make their team feel valued. And leaders are just as much part of their business’ success or failure as any other factor.
“As a leader if you don’t recognize that you are creating not just the periods of evolution but probably the periods of revolution, your business is going to flatline or fail.”
Paton firmly holds that entrepreneurs have a unique role to play amidst contemporary challenges: from Covid-19 response and climate change to diversity and inclusion and economic inequality.
“I truly believe that the way the planet will transform itself over the next generation has less to do with big government and big corporations than it does with entrepreneurship.”
Entrepreneurs will illustrate ways to solve these issues. When entrepreneurs commit to the journey of self-improvement, they will find themselves in a position to do great things.