Ten fixes to plug the opportunity leaks in your company

June 24, 2013 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

leaksbEvery company suffers those annoying leaks that sap momentum and energy. Anemic productivity, poorly designed systems, product waste, attitude issues, and uncontrolled spending can keep your company from achieving its full potential. Opportunity leaks won’t necessarily kill your company…but they will keep it frustrating to lead and grow, cash starved, and performing at or below average.

If you’re in business, you’re in business to win. That means being on your game as a leader. It means understanding the rules and disciplines of business. Otherwise, you’re playing to be average and that just doesn’t make sense. This isn’t rocket science. You can tell when a business is winning and profitable. Likewise, you tell when a business is struggling, constantly springing leaks, and getting in its own way. Like a ship, a business can’t get up to cruising speed when it’s taking on water. Winning businesses seize opportunities for improvement. When leaks do occur, they’re quickly identified and effectively sealed.

Here are ten no-compromise fixes that can transform your company into a productivity and profit power player:

  1. Unstick yourself: Leaders get stuck in routine ruts. It’s like having blinders on that prevent you from seeing what’s really going on in your company. If you’ve ever responded to a problem or crisis by saying, “How could this be happening right under my nose?” you were too deep in your routine rut to see it. It’s time to step back and redesign your role and your work.
  2. Don’t be the system: If your company functions best when you’re present, you are the system. Leaders fall into this trap because they don’t invest the time to thoroughly design and methodically implement systems and procedures. Impressive quality and efficient productivity is a planned outcome. If your company is springing leaks, it’s because systems are poorly designed, missing, or outright ignored.
  3. Mission impossible: Leaks occur when work gets boring and uninspiring. When work becomes work, it’s time to rock the boat and wake everyone, especially yourself, up. What’s your mission impossible? Where do you want to take your company and your team? What worthy cause do you want to fight for? It’s time to crank up everyone’s sense of urgency. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the leaks will stop when you snap yourself and your team out of the stupor.
  4. Meet your boss: At Strategies, we call it your Cash-Flow Plan. It’s your 12-month projection for revenues and budgeted expenses. Your Cash-Flow Plan is not only your best guess – it’s your boss. It exists to hold you accountable for controlling costs. And when you want to buy something, hire more people, or give raises, your boss is the only one with the authority to approve or deny spending. Profit is planned.
  5. Measure what matters: If you could only pick two or three critical numbers to focus on, what would they be? A critical number has a profound and lasting impact on a company when the team moves it in the right direction. The key word here is “team”. Daily, weekly, and monthly scoreboard tracking with the team keeps everyone focused on driving the most important performance numbers. You can’t obtain that urgency by tracking a dozen numbers at a time. Keep it simple.
  6. Stop dragging anchors: It’s great to believe in people, but not at the expense of the team and the company’s culture. A Neilism: If you’re fighting harder to protect an employee’s paycheck than the employee is, it’s time to make a decision. You cannot drag people where they don’t want to go.
  7. Everyone is responsible: Shared accountability is a value that must be imbedded in your company’s culture. If your employees are sitting around watching leaks as your ship sinks – you’ve got a major case of “I don’t care” in your company. As the leader, you’re the one who allowed it to happen. They don’t care because you didn’t care. Shared accountability begins at the leadership level. You must change first.
  8. The ultimate question: “Is it good for the customer?” This simple question cuts through all the drama, push-back, and petty bickering that occurs when implementing new systems and procedures. If it’s good for the customer – we do it. No compromise.
  9. Less is a lot more: When a company shifts to a team-based culture, the first epiphany that leaders have is how fewer people not only get more done – they get it done better and more efficiently. There’s more synergy and energy to drive revenues up and keep costs down. The pay is better. Bonuses are bigger. Fat and happy is slow and broke. Do more with less.
  10. No compromise works: No-Compromise Leadership truly is a higher standard of leadership thinking and behavior. It’s about growing a dynamic world-class company and the culture that drives it. And when a leader shifts the entire company to a no-compromise culture, the opportunities are truly extraordinary. Average companies focus on plugging leaks. No-compromise companies are all about growth and opportunity. Go for it.

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Categories: Business Builders , Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up , No-Compromise Leadership

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  1. Congratulations on your 20 years! We will celebrate 18 years in November–my third salon venture.

    Our management team had decided to allow the “team” to create the next team meeting themselves. When I got this e-mail this morning I thought, “What a good format for them to follow!” Maybe if they present it from a different perspective of message giver rather than message receiver, it will resonate differently.

    Thank you for this and the many contributions you have made to my company and to the industry as a whole. You deserve much recognition!

    Best~~Pat Helmandollar


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