Do you suspect that your business is choking under a mountain of self-imposed inefficiencies? You’re not alone. Each year thousands of businesses fall into some terrible habits. And these bad habits are anathema to their business success.
But many business leaders don’t want to accept their role in the demise of their companies. There’s always a member of staff or a supplier that’s to blame. All this attitude does is defend an overinflated ego. It doesn’t get to the root cause of the productivity problem in your business. And it certainly doesn’t do anything to improve the bottom line.
So let’s take a little time to look humbly at what businesses are doing wrong and make some suggestions about what might be done to fix it.
Like it or not, there is a huge pool of workers in your business who see it as a way to pay their bills. They’re not interested in growing it as you are. They’re not even interested in the product that you produce. All they want to do is show up, get paid and then leave so that they can support their families. It’s a simple, yet depressing economic transaction.
Many workers find themselves trapped. They wonder what the point of their work is. It seems to them to be more about securing dividends for stakeholders than for enriching their own lives and purpose. This lack of purpose leads to an existential crisis which in turns affects productivity. When people have no idea why they’re doing what they’re doing, they’re far less incentivised to work hard.
Of course, some businesses aren’t like this. Some businesses have an infectious enthusiasm that starts from the ground up. At every level, individuals are motivated by the work that they do. Why?
It’s usually because innovation and listening drive these companies. When employees have a sense of agency, they feel better about their work. They feel as though they are being listened to. And they have the impression that they have some kind of control over what they’re doing. Once you’ve established personal agency, you reinstall purpose. The job becomes less about going through the motions to pay the bills and more about achieving something worthwhile.
Lack Of Innovation
There tend to be two types of companies: idealistic and pragmatic. Visionary companies are always seeking the newest innovations. They’ll investigate a new document management system or a new cloud computing solution. And they won’t be afraid of change. Their weakness is embracing change too often and failing to consolidate.
Pragmatic firms have the opposite problem. They want to stick with existing methods because those are what are proven to work. New ideas are dismissed as “pie in the sky” nonsense. They’re shut down before they can even be aired.
The solution is to tread a line between these two extremes. Not every company has the financial resources of Google to pursue dozens of “moonshot” ideas. But not every company can afford to be like Kodak and reject revolutions in business models and approaches.