When What You Want Is What Your Company Needs

Self Awareness | April 18, 2023

Growing up, when my brother and I asked for things we wanted but didn’t really need, my father loved to sing, “You can’t always get what you want.” (Yes, in the tune of the Rolling Stones’ song.)

It was infuriating at the time.

But as a leader of a company, what you want is often what your company needs. And you know it, even if the rest of the company doesn’t think so at first.

The question is, how do you enroll others in your vision – especially when you’ve already gotten a pretty hard no? 

My client, Yetunde, CEO and founder of a successful tech company, knew that what she wanted for her company was also what her company needed. Unfortunately, not everyone thought so… 

“I completely disagree with what the board is asking me to do,” she told me during one of our sessions. The board of her company wanted her to hire a seasoned leadership bench from outside the company. For Yetunde this was the complete opposite of her vision.

“The premise of this company is to make opportunity accessible to people regardless of their education,” she said. “If we start recruiting our leaders from outside executives… with MBAs, no doubt… What message does that send? Yes, you can come in, but you can only rise so high. You can learn enough to be on staff, but never a leader.”

The tech space was more than Yetunde’s career industry of choice. Being able to learn how to code, regardless of access to higher education as a first-generation immigrant from Nigeria, changed her life.

Yetunde exhaled. “I’ll be honest, I’ve locked horns with the board on this for weeks. I’m exhausted.” 

When you’re at an impasse like this, often it’s time to connect with the “why” behind your work. What’s really important to you? What’s driving you? 

That’s where Yetunde and I started. Through inner work, Yetunde was able to reconnect with what mattered to her most. From there she came up with a creative solution that met the pressing needs of her company while deeply honoring her values. 

In short, Yetunde got what she wanted, and the company got what it needed. 

Holding onto her “why” has allowed Yetunde to continue to come from a place of choice, even under the most difficult circumstances. 

In my book Who You Are Is How You Lead (Muse Literary; March 27th, 2023), I show how visionaries like Yetunde can reconnect with their core values through inner work, and move beyond what they think they know about leadership. 

Who You Are Is How You Lead is a comprehensive guide and workbook for leaders ready to break through – or break-in – to their inner world. In it, I pull back the curtain on the work we do in coaching sessions. I show real scenarios brought to me by clients, detail the steps we took to overcome them, and the results clients walked away with – results that are measurable, and lasting. 

Pre-order a copy of Who You Are Is How You Lead here. Or pick it up in-stores globally and through Amazon.com on March 27, 2023. If you’ve found us, the inner work has begun. Let’s take the next step together. Schedule a complimentary exploratory call.

Rachel Rider
Executive Coach, Leadership Consultant