Have you ever felt that things would just stop in their tracks if you weren’t there pushing the next steps?
That when you try to ignite some discussion and debate in a meeting, you’re the only one speaking up?
Or even if you do get some discussion going, there is no follow-up after the meeting?
Your mind might immediately go to some of the gurus – do I have the right people on the bus? Should I bucket my people into A’s, B’s and C’s? Those are very good questions, but acting on them without some due diligence isn’t always a prudent first step.
These are all symptoms of what I call “Stalled Company Progress” – you know things should and could be moving along, but you just can’t seem to get them started. The good news is, if you recognize it, then you are typically ready to do something about it that will stop the status quo and get the progress jumpstarted again!
In my experience with small- and medium-sized businesses there are five top things that stall your company’s progress:
- Bottlenecked Decision Making: This is when decision making authority does not get cascaded down throughout the organization, and when this doesn’t occur, several things typically happen: work progress stalls until the decision maker is available; interim decisions are made to keep work flowing, but then everything needs to be reworked when the decision maker doesn’t agree; people feel they have less and less ownership over their work; frustration sets in and work progress comes to a standstill. Determining decision making authority levels is a must do in all organizations who want to not only sustain, but increase progress!
- Incorporating Change: Progress often includes doing things differently. Coming up with a better way of getting work done is not that difficult, but getting people to incorporate the new methods can be interesting. And if change is hard, behavioral change is even harder. If we want people to do things differently we need to both tell them what, why and how AND also support them by modeling, reinforcing and applauding their doing it. Change is possible, but it doesn’t happen by osmosis!
- Same-old, Non-cascading Goals: Do these sound familiar – “Increase revenue by X%;” “Improve customer satisfaction by Y%;” “Lower costs by Z%?” If you haven’t met these goals for the last 5 years, how will it be different this year? Goals are fine, but without engaged participation in cascading them down and flushing out the details, the odds won’t be much better this year!
- Siloed Ownership: We often think that revenue is a responsibility that only corresponds to sales; new product development, just R&D, and finding great talent, just HR; but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Without matrixed ownership to get things done, you can’t move forward.
- Hit or Miss Communication: Did everyone get the information they need, but even more importantly did someone speak up when they saw a problem? Do messengers of bad news get shot? Or did the bad news just get shoved under the rug? Were inappropriate behaviors dealt with in the meeting? Identifying where you need to build communication competencies in your corporate culture is the first step.
Many of these behaviors that stall work progress creep up on us so we don’t recognize them until they have become problems. Can they be fixed now? Of course! The first step is awareness:
Which of these are your biggest concerns?
Are they stalling your company’s progress?
Take our assessment now to find out! Download Your Assessment Now