4 Requirements for Creating New Solutions to Old Problems
All business owners, executives and entrepreneurs face challenges in their businesses. They could be from growing pains, avoiding a financial downfall or setting up the company resources for a buy-out. Regardless of the reason, there are issues that must be addressed to ensure intended results. Now is the time to do so while they are still manageable.
Years ago a company got hit with a lot of lawsuits from its employees. They were looking for golden parachutes that had been promised to them by the owner when they started working with the company years ago, but hadn’t materialize after the company was sold. A national campaign was inadvertently started by filing workers’ compensation claims in retaliation. After a couple of years, a medical doctor remarked, someone must have seriously dissed someone to create this much brouhaha. The company’s assets were eventually sold and the doors closed.
Could this happen to you? Yes, even when you are in the early stages of company growth.
Understand Your Business Pain Threshold
What is yours? When you are attempting to resolve an issue or create a new opportunity, old habits will get in the way. Why? They are comfortable and don’t require change. However, change always starts with your mindset, and that of your team, and is reflected in the culture, policies, systems and attitudes towards working with others. Lower your pain threshold and minimize mischief by honoring your promises. Follow-through to ensure you are creating a great place to work. This is an important blind spot for most businesses that fail to take care of their employees, vendors and customers.
Look Fear in the Eye
The underlying issue in resolving any problem is fear. It could be the fear of upsetting employees, boards, bosses, and/or investors. It could be the additional fears of not having enough money, resources, the right people, paying customers, etc.
First, get to the source of your real fear and talk it out with your business advisor.
Second, take an honest look at the problem: for example, uncovering a system problem could cost a lot of money to fix. Or, maybe, you’ve been hiring the wrong people that have great portfolios, but simply don’t fit or are not resourceful in resolving issues. At this point simply get real about the issue and don’t jump into fixing it.
Third, create an achievable plan to resolve the concern with your management team.
Fourth, follow-through by staying actively involved.
Many of us love the Band-Aid approach to fixing a problem because it’s faster and usually cheaper (in the short run). But, it’s usually why the problem still exists! Quick fixes or “waiting until you have the time” rarely produces the needed change. You cannot transform anything without getting real about it. The key is, when the same or similar problems keep coming up, it means you haven’t gotten to the heart or source of the issue. Start by creating an environment of trust and respect. Yes, it takes time and the time to start is now! Allow healthy conflict to occur in dialogue by training your team on persuasive listening techniques. Then, follow-through and follow-up to ensure you are on track to achieve the needed solutions. Help your team (and/or hire an executive coach) get outside their comfort zone and keep them on track.
As leaders, too often we are afraid of telling the whole truth, even to ourselves. The additional challenge is our egos won’t tell us what the real truth is! Instead we play the blame game and do not take responsibility for where we are. We fail to create the mindset of let’s get busy moving forward. The key is, what lessons have we learned and how are/were they applied to the next plan, project or issue.
First, set aside the mindset of how it “should be” and look at the problem from the perspective it is as it is, now what?
Second, share your thoughts and ideas in a manner that encourages brainstorming, not fait accompli with your team and board.
Third, stay away from time consuming, distracting shiny objects and expend the time to ensure your employees stay onboard by including them in strategy creation, plan formulation and execution.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2016
Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and executive coach for 24 years; along the way she’s guided the creation of three millionaires. She is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Check out her website, http://SeibCo.com, or contact Jeannette for a free, confidential conversation at http://SeibCo.com/contact.