Phase III part II – Challenges and Hindrances
In our last blog post, we talked about the hidden challenges that we all face with our emotions, attitudes, biases and our own ego. Pogo said it best when he said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
Challenges we see —
Now we turn to the many challenges that can easily overwhelm us if we let them.
There are so many that we should categorize them instead. Challenges in our business can be found in:
- Money — Cash flow or the lack of capital
- Employees – High turnover and low production
- Competition – from unfriendly competitors to downright nasty ones
- Market changes – customers, the economy, fads, and trends
- Management – communications, planning, or lack of, and decisions.
Missing the target
One of the biggest problems in addressing your challenge is mistaking a challenge or problem that is actually only a symptom. When you don’t address the cause of the challenge you can spend a lot of resources and feel good about some visible change, only to have the problem reoccur when you least expect it.
There is a process of consulting that helps management teams and others to push hard into finding root causes to problems and not just surface issues.
Money is almost never the problem. Cash flow and capital is a symptom of too little income, too much outgo, or poor planning of profits. Cash flow is only the yardstick that tells you there is a problem.
Since we all know you cannot control people, this can be a real problem. There are many potential causes of employee challenges. It could be that you hired poorly, don’t pay well, don’t train effectively or don’t manage your employees.
What we do is look at what can be controlled and what can’t. Can we improve our hiring, training, and managing? I have never seen a company that cannot improve in this area.
From a strategic perspective trying to find space in the marketplace where you can stay away from sharks would seem best. But the problem is that there seem to be sharks everywhere. Here you need to rely on other strategies to be able to quietly yet effectively move into and navigate safer waters.
While there are many who take the attitude of “I’ll fight them!” you better have a better game plan than they do or you are going to lose. Here is where the phrase “working smarter, not harder” would really apply.
In these areas, those who pay attention and are observant generally make out the best. Your competitors have these same issues as you do, so the business that can effectively turn these to their advantage first gets the upper hand.
We all know of Kodak, Blockbuster, and others that are no longer in existence because they could not change and adapt to the changes in the marketplace. There are steps that you can take to be prepared for these changes.
This is usually a difficult issue to address. There are so many hidden influences going on that if this is causing some challenges it is difficult to solve. Not impossible but often difficult.
In a bank client of mine, all of the research I did and my analysis pointed to the CEO as the biggest problem with the many problems taking place. The CEO denied any of them existed. I was able to lead a process that helped the CEO see the issues and make some critical changes.
What about you?
The biggest take away here is to look beyond the apparent problem and look for root causes if you are going to remove or overcome these challenges.