Help is a word that is foreign to many entrepreneurs, and so when I get a phone call and the caller verbalizes that they need help, I listen intently. I received such a call in November 2019 from an entrepreneur who had bought into a company and realized that the management team was struggling. “Dave, I need an outside perspective on how to move forward with this team, sales are down and the team is fighting amongst itself, can you help us?”
Within a couple months, we were working with the company and helping them come up with a plan to address their challenges. Sales were down; there was confusion about who was in charge and what members of the management team were responsible for; there was considerable stress and definitely a lack of morale within the organization.
What this company’s management team achieved in working with us wasn’t revolutionary. We helped the team get clarity on their jobs, understand why their role was important, and eliminate overlap. We supported the young leader as she grew into her role as general manager of the company, and helped build a level of accountability within the organization.
However, the key to their success was their dedication to continuous improvement. The management team started working in 90-day cycles and chose two or three items to fix each quarter that would make a difference for their team. In some cases, the items seemed small like changing suppliers, or building a brochure. In others, there was considerable work on implementation of marketing plans to reach new prospects and build relationships.
Each member of the company’s management team was committed to improving the organization and reducing stress. Now a year and a half later, the company is better. There is support for key team members who were overworked. The company has better systems that improve accountability and reduce stress. There are onboarding programs and people within the company have a clearer idea of what they should be doing and when to do it. Sales are much higher and they have some new customers. Go into the business and you will hear much more laughter and feel less tension.
Oh, it's not perfect. Like every business there is room to grow, and the changes beget the need for more improvements. However, the team is committed to continuous improvement and incremental change. They recognize the need for more 90-day plans and the clarity that those plans bring. They believe in themselves and see how far they have come in such a short time, working as a team.
Unfortunately, most organizations leave improvement to chance. They don’t do the work necessary to come up with plans for engaging their team and the leaders are often bearing the burden of trying to develop strategies in their lonely offices. Developing a system for incremental change might not seem revolutionary, however the results that it makes for your future will be outstanding!
Dave Fuller, MBA is an Award-Winning Business Coach and the author of the book “Profit Yourself Healthy.” Need help but can’t speak the word? Email your help question to firstname.lastname@example.org