Confessions of a Reluctant Perfectionist

March 19, 2023 | 02 min read


In the hustle of life, we stop miss out to pause and think and to learn new things.
More so, when you’re a leader in a customer success team, your life spins around back-to-back client discussions and solving every customer’s concern.
So when I received the email about the 10Xer Program, I was delighted and applied without a second thought. This was precisely what I was looking for – time out to think, reflect, and learn!

Before the 10Xer program, being hands-on and firefighting in case of emergency situations was quite usual in life. And it happened quite a lot, trust me. I would often be seen sitting next to my teammates, giving suggestions on how to reply to a particular email, how to handle a tricky client, how to expedite delivery, and whatnot.


No matter how much I tried, my schedule was usually packed with me being dragged in the last minute to several calls. But soon I realized that this pattern needs to break, especially as my teams grew larger; it was hampering both me and my team.


What really struck me during the 10Xer program was something one of the coaches said during one of our sessions – A gardener doesn’t grow plants. Plants grow themselves. What the gardener does is foster the environment for the plants to grow. They turn the soil, water the plants, and give them the nutrients they need.


If those jobs are done right, the garden will always flourish. I reflected a lot on this idea, and it became a game-changer for me. My biggest transformation is this loud and clear realization that the best way to lead a team is to create a work environment that maximizes their productivity. As a leader, this is where I have to channelize my time and energy!


I specifically recall one account where we were dealing with significant customer concerns left, right and centre. This is a risky situation as the account contained many internal facts that could make it unstable. Despite this, I refused to get hands-on in solving every client’s concern.


My experiment began something like this – I joined the first few client calls along with my team SPOCS. We would hear out the concerns on the call, but after the call, I let my team take over, do their experiments, come up with newer ideas, and act on the client’s concerns. The SPOCs would be the only ones to react to or join subsequent calls; I wouldn’t be there.


Soon enough, the clients started interacting directly with my SPOCs without involving me, and I could see my team gaining confidence as they were able to establish trust and credibility with the clients without my support. This, in turn, gave me a boost in confidence and a great deal of satisfaction that my team can handle things without constant supervision.


But accepting this wasn’t exactly a smooth journey. It was tough, and I had my hesitations, especially in case of a heated escalation or an urgent delivery. I did, however, learn to be patient and not get caught up in focusing on what’s urgent, instead of what’s important in the long term, through the chats with the coaches and watching the other 10Xers share similar stories and experiments. I remember, after every session, a guilt-ridden me would push myself harder and re-attempt to strengthen my team’s muscles.


Now, I can see the differences as my team is scaling up each day. This has freed up a lot of time and energy for me, which I channel to build better processes in my department, have 1-1 conversations with my team about their career planning, and set aside time to see what is and isn’t working for my team. On a lighter note, my calendar doesn’t look like a bloodshed anymore!


Of course, one of the most valuable aspects of the 10Xer Program was the opportunity to network with other leaders from whom I could learn and grow. Discussions, retrospectives, debates, and the general free exchange of ideas with others provided valuable insights and feedback that would definitely have been difficult to obtain on my own.


I used to dread taking time off or vacations earlier, but in the last month, I had to take a few days off due to some personal reasons and my team did me proud by stepping up and handling everything seamlessly in my absence. This, of course, is a work in progress and has a long way to go, but I am excited and looking forward to seeing my team’s productivity grow to new heights.

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