|I came across a great article written by Frank Slootman, Chairman and CEO at Snowflake (Technology/cloud company).
He has taken three companies public and is uber-successful. One of his keys to success is his “Amp it up” leadership philosophy.
There are three main pillars to his philosophy. I will summarize them below. These can apply to entrepreneurs, coaches, athletic directors, CEO’s or anyone in a leadership position.
The three pillars are:
-Increase the tempo
-Raise the standards
-Narrow the focus.
Increase tempo. Leaders must be on guard against settling into a malaise, becoming sluggish, or creating bureaucracies that slow them down. “I’ll do that today” turns into “I’ll get to that next week.”
Increasing tempo is just as much about how you work as it is about how fast you work.
For example, instead of putting a recruiting meeting on your calendar for next week to talk about your top targets, have your recruiting coordinator send an email TODAY with the list of possible targets. Then have everyone list their top 3-5 targets. And start making calls!
We often work slowly in the name of being ‘thorough’. Increasing tempo and being thorough are not opposed to each other. Increasing the tempo doesn’t have to affect the quality of your work.
There is a program that had a coaching change this past summer. The new staff was hired at the end of June. Which meant they had about 6 weeks to remake their roster. This was a constraint…but in the end, it forced them to work with elite tempo. They couldn’t “wait until next week.”
Six weeks later, they had increased their talent by remaking their roster. Putting a constraint in place can help increase the tempo. Or in this example, a forced constraint (6 weeks) led to increased tempo.
Raise the standards. Many leaders set a low bar with unclear expectations. Slootman sets a high bar with clear standards of what it takes to be successful. These high standards help them avoid becoming okay with good and obsessed with being great.
With high standards comes constant hard conversation. Slootman says “My whole life is confrontation.” It takes courage to hold people to high standards (read more about courage HERE).
One coach I work with has raised the standards in his program after a down year in 2022. It has been both hard and energizing. He has had more hard conversations in the first four weeks of practice than all of last year. It’s hard but it is worth it. Elevate the standards for the people in your program!
Narrow focus. You can’t increase the tempo and raise standards without narrowing your focus. If you do, be assured that at some point you will burn out.
A leader must have clarity of thought in order to narrow the focus. Leaders must constantly ask “are we working on one ‘A’ problem, or are we working on three ‘C’ problems?”
We naturally lean towards working on problems that are easier to work on…however, they rarely move the needle in your program. It is way easier to return a few emails and make sure the hotels are booked for next fall than to spend an hour calling recruits and making connections with high school coaches. Do we have to book hotels? Sure. Does it move the needle in your program? It doesn’t even come close to moving the needle like recruiting does.
Prioritize what you need to do more of. Double (or even triple) down on the most important things in your program. Narrow your focus!
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