by Tom Borg
When it comes to running a company, there has been a lot said about making sure you have the “right people” on the “bus”. Let’s take that thought process a couple of steps further and look at an example outside of the cannabis industry.
The president and owner of an automotive supplier had a very successful company. This run lasted for almost 30 years. However, the world continued to change, and he didn’t. Gradually the company started to falter. Even though the company started it’s slow spiral downward, he still felt strongly, his way, the “old way,” was the “only way” to do things. His demeanor made it clear that if his people were going to continue to work for him, it was going to be the “old way” or “the highway”. Many of his people and his administrators tried to tell him that better ways were being used by his competitors. He would hear nothing of it.
After reading one or two books on leadership, he came to a revelation. The reason his company was not doing so well was because he probably had the wrong people on the bus. Feeling enlightened, this owner made a big deal out of who he wanted to include “on the bus”. Through the process of elimination, he decided who he wanted to keep in the company, and the others were bluntly asked to leave. The smart ones willingly left on their own.
Today the company is a microcosm of what it once was, those remaining were given a substantial reduction in pay, and turnover of new employees is high. Sad but true.
There is a paradigm that some business owners, CEOs, and presidents have, and that is, the more successful they once were, using a certain business philosophy, the harder it is to let go of it and replace it with something else that actually works better. It is like the old saying, “dance with the one that brung you.” Even though better things come along, the right thing to do is to stick with the old way, even though it barely works anymore.
Regarding our earlier example, if this business owner would have asked himself a few questions before deciding which actions to take, he might have gleaned some insights that would have led to a much more favorable outcome. Some of these questions should have included:
- Did the business owner have a current driver’s license?
- Did he continue to read and take training to educate himself about the latest domestic and international trends and changes in the industry?
- Was he current on best practices in the industry?
- Was he really driving the bus or merely aiming it?
- Did he know what he was doing, or merely letting his ego dictate what action to take?
- Did he have the right road map or GPS?
- Did he know where he was going?
- If necessary, did he have any alternate routes he could take that would get him to his destination?
- Was he willing to stop and ask for directions?
- Could he have consulted with other successful business owners or qualified consultants? What could he have learned that could have shaped his future decisions?
- What kind of maintenance or repair was the bus in need of?
- Was his product or service outdated, needing modification or replacement?
- Could his delivery system have been improved?
- While in transit, was he willing to communicate with, and listen to those who were on the bus with him?
- Was he open to suggestions from his team members that ran counter to his way of thinking?
- Did he have a continuous dialogue with his managers and employees?
- How could his company culture have created more open communication, trust, and collaboration?
Here is my point. The world of business is not the same as it was even 30 days ago. Multiply that by one hundred, and it greatly diminishes the effectiveness of our former thought processes for running a business or organization effectively.
In today’s fast-paced world, we don’t have enough time not to stay current and keep open lines of communication within our organization.
Our greatest strength might be to keep an open mind to other people’s observations and suggestions. As the saying goes, “none of us is smarter than all of us”.
The entire world is changing, and we need to be flexible and do the same. If not, we will meet with failure in “common hours,” and our company could serve only as the latest obituary in the business section of your local news publication.
Tom Borg is a team performance and customer experience expert who works with business leaders and their teams struggling to break through to the next level of success. He does this through his consulting, behavioral assessments, coaching, training and speaking. To ask him a question please call (734) 404-5909 or email him at: [email protected] or visit his website at: www[email protected]