The typical business owner is usually heavily involved in the day-to-day production of the company and manages around the edges. When they try to make a run for the bathroom someone will commonly stop them and ask them a question. Oftentimes the owner doesn’t have enough data to actually answer what’s going on or solve a particular problem. This lack of information can result in making some poor decisions. Sometimes the owner will make a decision for a staff member and the staff member walks away thinking that the decision or solution will never work. At times owners get very frustrated with their staff when presented with problems in the office which require their help — saying that they are busy and when they get a break they will solve that issue — not realizing that this particular approach results in the staff waiting for the answer to their questions — this slows down overall productivity.
What I have found is that the owner often finds that things that are going on in the office that are hard to face and confront and seem very difficult to manage. It either makes you nervous or it might upset another or perhaps you lack the know-how of how to solve the problem and you don’t want to show it. Or you hope if you wait long enough, maybe it will just go away. But unfortunately, some problems must be confronted. Some problems or situations need to be faced without flinching or avoiding. We can make all kinds of excuses so that we don’t have to face something, but every time we do, we usually end up with more problems later.
Let’s take a situation where you have a staff member who has not been doing his or her job extremely well. At one time this staff member was doing very well without any difficulty. But over the past few weeks, you notice that there has been a drop in the job performance and that there is less desire and spark in this individual. You assume that there might be something going on at home — perhaps an upset with the husband or wife. You choose to ignore it. Let’s say that over time the job performance starts to falter even further. You start having negative thoughts about this individual. Maybe perhaps start wondering whether or not he or she is the right person for the job. In actual fact, all you need to do is just talk to the staff member and find out what happened prior to the decline in job performance. It could be something like the staff member was telling you about his or her weekend and you were distracted and walked away. Something as simple as that. Before having this conversation you might have imagined that this was a very complicated situation — perhaps a touchy subject, so you shouldn’t even ask or inquire when in actuality it was just a simple misunderstanding.
Have you ever had a problem in the office that you were not really handling and you went home and talked to your wife or husband about it as though they were going to handle it for you? Have you noticed that they usually don’t handle it for you? They may give you a couple of ideas, but then do you go back in the office and implement them or do you continue to ignore the problem? This is what I mean by adding complexity to something that you cannot confront and face without flinching or avoiding.
Even in the action of driving in new business, this can come up. Most owners actually don’t derive tremendous amounts of pleasure going out and knocking on doors to drive in new business or whatever it is they must do to the market. They hope that their good work alone will make them busy. Oftentimes it does pretty well but sometimes there are things missing – some things that the owner must do in order to increase and grow the business. Unfortunately, that might require going out and talking to some sources of new business so they make excuses as to why they don’t want to do that – they don’t like it, the person they need to see is always busy, they don’t want to feel like a salesperson, etc. I don’t disagree with any of those comments, but if you don’t have another solution in hand to solve the problem of how to increase business then why not go out and knock on doors? Everybody else does. What are you not confronting?
Maybe it is uncomfortable. But in actuality, no matter how many excuses you want to make up, if you are not doing anything to get new business, then you are not confronting the situation. You are complicating it.
When it comes to managing a business, the typical owner, as I mentioned before, works most of the time handling the day-to-day production and a very small amount of time around the edges trying to run the business. If you decided on Monday morning to work 20 hours a week handling daily production and the other 20 hours doing the administration, what we usually find is after a while you end up spending most of your time handling daily production again and leaving almost no time for the administration. What happened? You may not know how to be an executive and grow a business. It seems hard to confront. You do know how to produce. You can confront that, so that is what you do.
Somebody needs to be at the helm, running and guiding the ship. That someone is the owner and if he or she is absent then that ship sails aimlessly in the night. There is a way to increase your business and make it grow. There is a way to put together a team that is completely behind you and helping the organization achieve its goals so that the individual team members can reach their own goals in life. There is a way to drive business to your door without compromising your own integrity and feeling like a salesperson.
You may have heard this before, I say it quite often — if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you’ve got. In order to move the business up to a higher level, you need to realize that you need to change what you are doing.