Thursday, 11 August 2016

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

There comes a time in many small businesses where people just get used to each other, rely on certain people too much or even don't want to take certain actions or change because it’s “too much trouble”.  This is a sign that the business is in trouble.

There’s no harm with having a business where everyone works well together.  The difference, though, is whether they’re working together for the right reasons or because they don't want to address the proverbial “elephant in the room” and are just putting up with the situation until something better comes along.

The elephant may be a “key employee” who knows that he or she is “key” (they may think this means “indispensable”) and takes advantage of it to the detriment of others.  Result: morale and productivity drop and people may decide it’s better to leave than stick around in a toxic environment where the boss isn't prepared to look after everyone as opposed to a “select few”.  If you’re the owner of a business and you see this happening, particularly in one team or department, ask yourself if the problem is the team/department head whom you consider “indispensable”.

Another problem may be in “the way we do things”, manifesting itself in a reluctance to look at or adopt new ways of doing them.  If the competition is doing it, the business may find itself at a competitive disadvantage in future.  Change is never comfortable or easy, but if we don't change, we can get left behind.  Again, if you find the competition drawing ahead whilst you stick to your proverbial guns, does something need to change?

There’s no harm in being in that “happy zone” for a while.  Businesses tend to grow, “plateau” as they consolidate and absorb that growth and then grow again.  However, plateauing for too long means danger. The first question to ask is “Have we been too comfortable for too long?”  Getting out of the “comfort zone” is scary and needs effort.  You may make mistakes or even fail along the way.  However, the risks of doing nothing are even greater.

I have spent more than half my life delivering change in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in international financial services around the world  running different operations and lending businesses, I started my own Consultancy to offer solutions for improving performance, productivity and risk management.  I work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email . My website provides a full picture of my portfolio of services.  For strategic questions that you should be asking yourself, follow me at @wkm610.

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