Do you have a problem with your business? Is something stuck? If the answer to either of these questions is yes you are not alone. Your comments may be similar to some of these comments below.
Our sales are flat.
We can’t get our employees motivated.
We are getting more customer complaints.
We have new competition.
These are normal problems but there is certainly no pat answer for each.
Be Proactive not Reactive
The examples above are symptoms. They represent problems you would like solved. However, it is a mistake to put all your effort into treating these symptoms. Many reactive business leaders take this approach. For example, the business owner sees that sales are flat and decides to fix by hiring a salesperson, paying to set up social media, or hiring a marketing specialist. That may cost the business owner needless expense since it may not fix the problem. Instead, the proactive leader finds the cause of the problem and eliminates it. Finding the cause is a process.
Can you handle the truth?
“You can’t handle the truth!”… Most people know this quote from the movie “A Few Good Men”. The truth can be a very emotional word especially if the truth hurts. But the truth will get to the cause of your problem and if you accept the truth you will be ready to fix the problem. It is helpful to get an outside consultant who sees your business with fresh eyes. The consultant you hire should be a generalist in business rather than a specialist in a particular area. The objective is location and correct the root cause of the problem. A qualified consultant will want to analyze the following.
What is your organizational strategy, what is your vision?
How does your organization engage and reward employees?
Do you employees have attitudes and behaviors necessary to accomplish goals?
How effective are the leaders of the organization?
Is it easy to do business with your company?
There are very effective assessment instruments available to generate a fact based picture of organizational performance – I utilize the D.I.AL.O.G. assessment instrument for my clients. Malcolm Baldrige implemented a highly influential set of criteria that are being used to evaluate companies and organizations for the prestigious Award of Organizational Excellence. These same criteria are used in D.I.AL.O.G.
After you have received the survey what will you do with the results? Can you handle the truth? Are you willing to be transparent with your entire organization? People want to understand where the company is going. When they do understand the strategic direction, tactical measures will be executed more effectively and efficiently. Once again, get the root causes not the symptoms.