I recently was fortunate enough to hire some mid-level leaders, three to be exact, in addition to a CFO. After seven years as CEO and leading a number of team members and CFOing, I am grateful for the relief of the constant questions and chatter that kept me lost in the chaos of the daily minutia. But something happened and I wonder if it has, is, or will happen to you.
I’m driving my team nuts.
With all this extra ‘free’ time to strategize, think, and process, my mind is racing. I’m able to analyze data more, and identify gaps—and of course, I have a brilliant plan, plans, many plans on how to fix it all. And what better time than to fix it all than now. All at once. After all, doesn’t the saying go, ‘there’s no better time than the present?'
Mr. CFO was ready to quit. After the fifth team message in a day requesting another report to be created, he had had enough. I was shocked and appalled. Had he forgotten that I was paying him a salary as high as my own to get his level of quality, not just in accounting, but more importantly his data skills? The man worked next to the CFO of Victoria Secret and Bath and Body Works. Mr. CFO is the crème de la crème, and I wanted data now. All of it.
If silence be good for the wise, how much better for fools. —Talmud
In a heated discussion, it became apparent that I needed to learn to be silent, to be still. My team needed time to work, to think, to listen, to observe, to learn, and shockingly, to rest.
Mr. CFO knew just what to say, “Carma, my job is to give you more time in your greenhouse.” You see, I had bought my dream purchase, a greenhouse. And to date, it has sat empty. And it is no one’s fault but my own. In that one sentence, he had summed up the entire problem and solution.
I also have a ¼ acre garden. I take piano lessons. I paddleboard. I just entered my first TriTry. I’m learning to paint. Yet, rare is the day (weekday or weekend) that I actually make time to do any of these things. Not because my staff needs me. Not because the credit union is still in a state of failure.
I am in their way. I am in my way.
I am the one constantly asking questions.
I am the one chattering.
I am the one causing chaos.
So, if you are a CEO or a leader at any level, I urge you to listen to your team. Hear their cries of frustration. Then get out your rake, your paddle, your hammer, or any tool that brings you joy.
Work on you.
Get out of their way.
If you need me, I’ll be in my greenhouse.