It’s easy to confuse fiscal health with strength. Yes, financial stability is one of the most important agents in a successful company, but when an organization desires to truly thrive and grow, fiscal health can ebb and change with a rapidly changing market.
A mechanical design company with 160 employees was struggling, but not fiscally. While the company was growing rapidly with four partners at the helm, the acting CEO felt there was an overall lack of alignment among the partners, and the team tended to react to the day-to-day challenges and putting out fires, rather than operate with a cohesive vision. Profitability was good. Processes were strong, but the team didn’t communicate well, and each group was acting independently of each other, causing fractures in communication. While minimal now, those fractures could easily develop into chasms, affecting quality as the company continued to grow. The company desperately needed a planning tool that would help them align their divisions around a long-term strategy.
Before a company can realign itself, the stakeholders have to be able to identify the challenges that the company faces. How can you repair something if you don’t know that it’s damaged? Furthermore, sometimes the things we think are damaged turn out to be symptoms of an entirely separate issue. For this mechanical design company, the fractures in communication were exactly that – symptoms of some larger issues. Working with a strong Business Coach who was knowledgeable about analyzing GROWTH CURVE issues, the leadership was able to uncover five true challenges:
- Difficulty hiring quality staff
- Poor staff training
- Poor project management and resource coordination
- Difficulty understanding how the company will grow in the future
- Trouble putting systems and procedures in place as the company grows
Once those challenges were identified, the Business Coach was able to work with the leaders, creating initiatives to solve the challenges that were affecting the company. The employees are now able to articulate their growth, including their challenges and plans for the future. With a cohesive vision, partners in charge of divisions learned how to let go and began trusting their field managers to make decisions while companywide meetings served as an arena for communication so all employees understood the goals of the company, as well as its successes and challenges. Now everyone knows how to play an active role in the overall success of the company.
Uncovering a company’s challenges is sometimes a very sticky situation and can quickly become a very serious camouflage situation. Most of the time, these issues are ones that simply don’t look like a big deal and certainly not a serious issue. I’ve spoken many times with business owners who truly and honestly believe that all is well. Things are good! They’re profitable, no big problems; annual growth, happy customers and good and stable sales. Then one morning they wake up and the business has taken a major back slide because of simple unaddressed small issues that suddenly became huge issues.
The time to review what is going right and how to keep it going that way, and to review what COULD go wrong and how to prevent it is when things are going well is now rather than later. Be honest and take some time now to uncover your business challenges and then take the steps necessary to strengthen your capacity to grow!
If you might need help in this process, give me a call or write today. That’s’ what I do and I’m open for business.
As always, BE GREAT!