In our work, we hear many different excuses for why a business isn’t growing. Often, it’s the leader of the
business who is the primary excuse. Why?
Bill owns a small manufacturing business that provides some insight into why he was the main reason that his business was not achieving its growth goals.
When Bill purchased the business, he had a vision for what he wanted to accomplish. After a few years of keeping his head down, getting the work out and paying the bills, he lost touch with that vision. None of his people knew where he wanted to take the company. When he considered revisiting his vision and sharing it with his personnel, some issue would arise to divert him. Also, he was concerned that engaging his people to work towards his envisioned future would distract them from doing their everyday jobs.
Bill’s organization was structured like a traditional manufacturing company – sales, operations, accounting. He assigned distinct annual goals to each department. Because these goals were not mutual and cross-functional, the goals created conflicts and confusion among the various departments as they competed with each other to achieve only their assigned goals.
Several years ago, Bill and his team developed a set of core values under which they wanted to operate the business. These included customer satisfaction, high quality, initiative and others. However, expected behaviors for each of these principles were left undefined. There was no discussion of behavior vs. values in performance reviews or connection of performance to compensation. The core values became just words.
Once identified, Bill invested time to engage his team in refining their vision for the future, in developing shared goals that nurtured organizational collaboration focused on serving customers, and in specifying expected behaviors for each core value that are consistently applied across the entire company.
The result? Bill’s company has been growing for the past 18 months and Bill is no longer “the excuse.”
Are you the excuse for your company’s disappointing growth performance?
What can you do to accelerate your growth?