Are You A Leader, Or Just A Grenade Thrower?

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You know how kids will beg and plead for a new pet? They’ll promise to care for it, feed it, walk it … nothing but empty promises. You give in, agree, and welcome this new animal into your house. Before too long, the kids have disappeared and you’re left to literally clean up the crap. Oh, and by this point you’ve developed an emotional bond with the animal so you can’t just get rid of it.

I believe, in someways, this equates to the promise of new leadership in an organization. Companies invest in, and become attached to, someone they believe will truly make a positive impact. These people boast of previous success, say all the right words, generate excitement, and paint a big picture. But, sometimes companies have invested in a grenade thrower, not a leader.

Grenade throwers are those “big picture” people, who lack the glasses necessary to develop true vision. They’ll come into an organization, throw around some big ideas (the grenades), get everyone running, and then leave employees with nothing but shrapnel. The company is deconstructed and left to pick up the pieces.

Below are 6 grenade-qualifying questions to ask yourself.

1. Can you actually define the strategy?

A leader understands that a great idea is only the beginning. Leaders will research and try to prove why their good idea could be a bad idea in order to overcome objections and uncover flaws. Leaders can also document their strategy. Grenade throwers often think of a great idea, introduce it in a meeting, and then want to begin work. Leaders map a journey to their vision, grenade throwers are scattered and inconsistent in their communications.

2. Can you define the plan to execute the strategy?

Leaders don’t need to define the project plans, but they do need a strong understanding of the time and resources required. Leaders become aware of inter-dependencies and seek council with those who know best. Grenade throwers are quick to eliminate a process or system. Because technology often creates an external appearance of simplicity, grenade throwers believe process and technology changes to be fast and uncomplicated. Grenade throwers are foolish.

3. Are your decisions fact based or opinion based?

So you believe the company needs to “re-brand”. You want new messaging, new logos, new websites, and a new sales process. A leader has determined what deliverables are required by speaking with customers, analysts, and employees. They research and understand the reasons for existing brands and processes. They analyze, consult, and engage. Grenade throwers believe that these are the easiest things to change and will result in quick wins. Grenade throwers are misguided and rely on their opinion of what is best.

4. Are you committed?

Leaders believe in their vision and will stick around, even when there are roadblocks. They are emotionally invested and understand the investment the company has made in them. Grenade throwers are out the door as soon as something better, or easier, comes along. They often fail to implement a transition plan as well. Grenade throwers create long-term destruction.

5. Are you supporting the team, or is the team supporting you?

Yes, there should be mutual support. However, your job as a leader is to enable those executing your vision to succeed. Leaders enable, grenade throwers cripple.

How would those in your organization answer these questions? Do you work with leaders or grenade throwers?

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Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.
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