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Are my socks on the wrong feet?

I know, right now you’re thinking “this time, she really has lost her mind, talking about socks.” But stop and think for a minute about the question…. “Are my socks on the wrong feet?” Most socks are universal (not all, I’ll give you that) and can be worn on either the right or the left foot; can you ever really put most socks on the wrong foot?

The short answer is yes~ come on, you’ve done it – you’ve had a pair of socks on, you get home take them off – only to remember you have to get gas in your car for the next day – you grab your socks and put them back on…. But now they definitely have a right or wrong foot – they’re in the shape of the foot they were on earlier. They have been molded to fit a specific foot – and have aligned their shape to support that foot. So, what started out as an either - or sock– doing the job of supporting and conforming to the needs of the foot they were on, now has been thrown onto the wrong foot.

We often try to fit ourselves into a category, frame of mind or as the title would indicate, the right or left foot. We try to define who we are in business and in our personal lives by prior actions, by our mentors or other environmental exchanges which in reality can pigeonhole us into something we really are not. I’ve been working a lot lately with executive and leadership strategy. What we think about the qualities a “C” level executive should have and what the supporting cast must look like, is often very different from the people we have in those roles.

In one such interaction, I watched the “C” level executive trying to grow the business from a position of fear, in another case I watched an entire executive leadership team focus more on how they “look” to their employees than on what their actual strategic actions should be to get them to the next level.

Each of these “socks” were not necessarily on the foot they needed to be on. Some truly belonged on the other foot, and some deserved to be lost in the dryer. Building a business is hard. There isn’t anything easy about growing your company, but when you are not aligned as a team it becomes impossible. The beauty of a sock is that it’s easily re-directed, all you have to do is put it through the wash and voila – once again you have a sock that is neither meant for the right foot or the left foot.

We’ve all seen companies that have been around for a long time and appear to be doing okay, so they must have all the socks on the right feet; or does it mean that they have simply learned to navigate the waters enough to keep their socks up? It takes a strong team to build a thriving business; and it takes all kinds of socks to make it work. It takes a leadership team strong enough in their own right to say “we just don’t have all the answers” and seek outside or external resources to break through the noise. Sometimes the best thing a leader can do for their company is to get out of the way – just because you started the business or joined early on does not necessarily mean you’re the right one to take it to the next level, and that’s hard to admit for many. Sometimes, you have to toss it all in the wash to see how it comes out. Some will get lost, others fade, and some may shrink – but when you have the temperature just right and you’ve carefully put them through the machine, they may come out brighter and more prepared to support you. Same goes for personal interactions….

No, we’re really not talking about socks – it’s just a fun way to look at things. A different way to think about your business and personal life; removing the personalities that we often get too hung up on. When you talk about a sock – there’s no emotion, just decision-ing. Does it fit, does it not, is it holding its form or does it need to go. In business if you are in a leadership position you have to find a way to step back from making all of your decisions, emotional decisions. Sometimes you need to remove the emotion to truly be able to evaluate your team and its performance. You have to step back, be objective and lead. If you can’t, you need to put the right people / resources in place to do so.

In your personal life you have to take stock of those you spend time with, are they supporting you or are they “on the wrong foot?”

Here’s to all of the socks that make it back from the wash and into the drawer each week…. They’ve earned their place!

If you haven’t evaluated your socks lately, give us a call, we’re happy to help you sort through all of it! Our executive leadership sessions and “C” level workshops could mean the difference between growing or going – which will you choose?

Better yet, PM or ping us to learn more about truly unplugging and join one of our upcoming retreats! Give yourself time to reevaluate all of your socks!

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