After one of my leadership tips, a business leader asked me my opinion of what causes businesses or business units to fail in a non-pandemic world.
To clarify, “fail” can mean going out of business (closing the doors). “Fail” can also mean not reaching expectations.
Although there’s not one simple answer to this question, let me share my top three ways businesses or business units can avoid failing.
- They have a realistic plan. Many businesses do not formulate a plan and, if they do, their plans are often short sighted and/or incomplete. Realistic plans have to leverage your company’s strengths, minimize your weaknesses, maximize your opportunities (current and emerging), and address your threats (current and emerging). They require creative thought mixed with mindful strategies and actions, then adjusted as circumstances change.
- They have competent leadership. Their leaders must possess the skills to establish healthy employee relationships and the ability to build a focused and engaged team. Caring, creativity, consistency, communication, and attention to customers are key.
- They are efficient with their time. Their leaders have established priorities, are highly productive, and avoid firefighting by solving problems before they occur. They are focused and purposeful; they think things through in advance by planning.
Perform a reality check on how well your business or business unit(s) are doing in these three critical areas.
To do this, spend time with key members of your team to review the performance in each of these areas. Give everyone an assignment to assess one or more of the components. Be mindful of any “rose-colored glasses” you and your team may be wearing. You might even get a third-party facilitator to calibrate the assessments and evaluate your perspective.
Business can be strong this quarter, but the question is this: Are you doing today the activities that will assure your business remains strong tomorrow?