Many business owners make the fundamental error of believing that fiscal health indicates that the business is strong. Financial stability is only one of the components of a business that will achieve sustainable growth. As markets change, fiscal health can rapidly deteriorate. The decision makers in the business must have the ability to maintain a high level of focus and readiness. Each individual owner must be resilient, flexible and able to quickly adapt to the inevitable changes in the market, as well as to operate as a leader of an aligned team.
As an example, a mechanical design company with 160 employees had problems – but not financially. The business was growing quickly. The four owners were disconnected, operating without focus or any strategic plan or vision upon which to base their decisions. The CEO at the firm had concerns about the lack of alignment of the partners, and the negative impact this would have on the future of the enterprise. The partners tended to react, generally only by responding to the day-to-day challenges and problems. Critical decisions were being made independently, and the internal operations were out of alignment, creating a high level of friction within the business.
Although the company was profitable, and the internal processes were functioning at some level, the members of the team were not communicating well with each other. There was an increasing problem between the partners, who tended to avoid contact and act independently. Without alignment in the partners, with the added factor of a poor level of communication, the business was at risk. The owners needed to find a process that would get the team aligned, would restore communication, and lead to a shared vision and effective action for future advancement.
The first step in resolving this critical issue was to identify the actual challenges in the business, as opposed to focusing on the symptoms. These challenges included those in leadership, in goals, individual opinions, and the various beliefs and ideas about the business and how it should operate. With the help of a Specialist, the partners identified six existing challenges:
- Difficulty in hiring employees that performed quality work
- Poor training processes in place for employees
- Poor project coordination
- Poor utilization of resources
- Concerns about how the business would grow in the future
- Difficulties in putting systems and procedures into the business to manage higher volume as the business grew
As with any business, fiscal health and profitability are powerful motives. In this example, it is clear that the business was facing internal problems that would eventually destroy it. Without alignment and the ability to adapt to the natural chaos of growth, there is instability, and sustained fiscal health is impossible. Are you concerned about the performance and the low level of communication and engagement in your business? Do you really understand the actions to take to create a cohesive, performance-driven team? It starts at the top. Your decision makers could be operating in alignment, at a high level of understanding and engagement with the team, and have the ability to inspire performance.