Seven Deadly Sins of Businesses
Hedley Lawson, Jr.
very successful businesses often find problems surfacing that befuddle
the most intelligent and successful business person. There is any number
of training seminars and business publications that profess to know how
to resolve problems. Many, however, don’t take time to isolate the
problem well enough to ascribe a solution.
We’ve prepared a short but practical look at what we call “The Seven Deadly Sins of Business.”
The Sin: We can upgrade later. There’s any number of areas within a business where this typically arises. Let’s take ineffective talent acquisition and employee retention.
The Solution: “Hire and retain
the only the best.” Seemingly impersonal, difficult or personally painful as it may be, experience suggests that taking immediate action saves time, money, organizational pain and possible litigation that typically results from retaining less than stellar staff.
The Sin: Offering a solution in search of a problem. You know you have a problem when you continually find employees as opposed to a defined problem in search of a root cause definition and a solution.
The Solution: Attain intimate knowledge of your business, your operations and your organization. Craft solutions that address real, not perceived needs. And use organizational or customer feedback early and often to build a strong performance culture and customer focused organization or practice.
Excellence is subjective. You know you have a problem when
people individually make change without anyone knowing. This results
in your employees determining the standard for excellence and you
later discovering that excellence widely varies between employees
and reflects in your customer value proposition and retention.
The Solution: Create
a well defined and evenly applied quality and performance culture.
Be honest and constructively critically with your employees. And avoid
The Sin: Ready, fire, aim. This is most often evident as a result of poor planning and organization. You know you have a problem when you and others in your organization are too busy to effectively plan. You discover a gap between strategic and operational thinking and execution. And there exists chronic inability to quantify and communicate expectations effectively.
The Solution: Distinguish between goals and outcomes. Equally important, insist on up-front plans, even if they change.
The Sin: Bring it up at the meeting. Waiting becomes the prevailing organizational planning and communication process and displaces a culture based on a sense of urgency.You know you have a problem when employees and management take a wait and see or hands off approach to tough decisions, or when few probing questions are asked. And after waiting for a meeting, it is not uncommon to find poor preparation and weak analysis that lead to inconclusive meetings.
The Solution: Build a culture of immediacy and urgency that addresses tough questions or problems. Build teamwork that solves problems, not ignoring them.
The Sin: My people. This is often evident through office politics and a company culture disconnect. You know you have a problem when friends hire friends and protect them. Loyalties take precedence over achievement and candor.
The Solution: Ensure that teamwork is the foundation of your company, and that you will impose zero tolerance for bad teamwork. By doing so, you will take positive strides to ensure bottlenecks to open communication among your team.
The Sin: Blame the measuring stick. By blaming the measure, you experience weak accountability. You know you have a problem when you find results fall short of expectation, or there exists weak internal accountability, or individuals want to throw out performance measures or metrics.
The Solution: What you can do about it is create a performance culture with performance metrics. Don’t accept broken performance promises or commitments without explanation.
is the managing partner of Aligned Growth Partners, LLC, a strategic,
operational and organizational consulting, and executive search