The impression most people have of company CEOs, corporate presidents, and other business leaders, is that of the visionary, the person who ‘knows’ where the market is headed and ultimately where the company is moving; he or she is the far-sighted company luminary. Interestingly, if a person has the vision condition of farsightedness or Hyperopia, they can see far away just fine, but not all that much nearby.
Often, when a business is in crisis, the company leadership looks far and wide for causes and culprits, but sometimes, the root of the problem is in the building and sometimes in the mirror.
Best Asset, Worst Enemy
It may be perceived as low sales, a poor economy, bad advice or a host of other reasons as the cause of company dysfunction, but more often than not, it is simply an untrained staff, insufficient infrastructure, lack of oversight, poor process, or absent management.
All of it can bring a company to a state of paralysis; and all can be made worse or remedied, by the company leader. So how can you save your business?
Change the problem
So product sales are slow in coming, getting ready to ditch the high paid sales team? Sounds like a sure-fire way to make the company look profitable again, on the other hand, you wouldn’t advise an obese person to lose weight by amputation, would you? The problem may be related to sales, or it may not. It could be that, while your flagship product might be brand spanking new and shiny, nobody wants the silly thing. Maybe the problem is, you never really thought to ask your customer base what they’d need -much less what they would be willing to buy.
Hunt for Problems
You might be known for being an unflinching optimist, but the fact is, your business exists because somebody else has problems. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your company has problems too. Don’t take the word of any of your employees; that everything is peachy-keen or worse, hunky dory. You have problems. Your Internet connection sucks, your servers always crash, two people in your shipping department are months away from retirement and haven’t put in a decent days’ work since 2007. Find your company problems, find your customers’ problems; become a hunter.
Provide the Tools. Really
How many of your employees have come knocking on your door, asking for a new spiral jig smacker or similar tool? The employee explains that the old jig smacker gets bogged down two or three times a day. The employee points out that they could be smacking four times as many jigs if you sucked up and got the new Jig Smack 400 XL with built in Jag Adjustors. You know how many times you smiled and said you’d look into it. It’s your company for Pete’s sake, so provide the tools your people need to get the job done.
Fix High Leverage Problems First
What’s a high-leverage problem? It’s any barrier to completing your mission statement. High leverage problems usually affect multiple departments at the same time, so they’re easy to identify and sometimes can be fixed by simply installing a new piece of software. On the other hand, it might be expensive, like replacing the CEO.
High leverage problems can drain the motivation from your employees, sour the enthusiasm of your customer base and bring your productivity to a standstill. Whatever it is, be it a new IT network, new machinery, a simple pep-talk or a complete rewrite of policies and procedures, fix it. Otherwise, nothing changes, if nothing changes.