Deciding not to decide (aka indecision) will destroy any organization. Focusing on symptoms does not solve problems. Being “stuck” and not doing anything about it will put you out of business fast!
I work with many organizations where ignoring the actions (or lack) of employees, team members, and even the owner had become detrimental. Here are a few examples:
The Sales Manager
The sales manager of a $28 million distribution company has been a personal friend of the president for over 20 years. This manager is responsible for 8 salespeople.
The sales manager is constantly late to work. When he gets to his desk, he spends 30 minutes getting coffee and chatting with people around the office. He appears complacent toward his responsibilities. People notice.
When there is a sales meeting (only occasionally held), he is generally late. The sales team members are afraid to say anything. The top-performing salespeople are starting to leave.
The President questions why sales are low and being lost to the competition? The budgeted sales are short by over 20%.
The decision to not confront the sales manager has impacted almost every area of the business. Should the sales manager be put on notice or released?
The Benevolent Owner
An 18-year-old $23 million pipeline construction company has had cash flow problems for the last 4 years. The owner wants to retire, but the family members who work in the company do not want to take over.
Issues with quality control have begun to cause major problems. Customers are paying slow. Old customers are not responding to bid proposals.
The owner complains that the family members want him to pay bonuses even when he cannot get them to stay past 4:30 pm. He says they have not earned it. He pays them bonuses anyway. They all drive company cars, and use company equipment and staff for “personal projects”. He thinks they do not appreciate him.
The owner, who loves race cars is constantly “borrowing funds from the company” to pay for his hobby. We analyzed the numbers and discovered the amount exceeded $2.5 million in the last 3 years.
The company has had problems getting insurance bonding and has experienced lost job opportunities because they are “uninsurable”. The financial problems have affected bonding for construction projects.
The company bookkeeper is not experienced in job cost accounting. She has been the receptionist for 4 years. The owner says she is very loyal.
Payroll tax defaults have been as high as $2 million. The company uses those funds to pay for immediate cash needs. Company assets are constantly being “refinanced” in order to pay the IRS for payroll taxes and the shortfall of cash to pay normal business expenses.
The owner tells me that he cannot win the battle of cash flow. He wants to retire, but cannot. He asked me what he should do. I turned the question to him and asked him to tell me what he thinks the problems are.
What do you think the problems are? Is it the owner? Is it the family members not speaking up? What are the tough decisions that need to be made?
Avoiding the separation of his love for race cars is a huge legal and financial risk. Ignoring his family’s accountability and setting proper expectations are major issues. All are killing the business.
After the owners “decided to decide” to make tough decisions, here is what has transpired for both clients.
The sales manager was fired and replaced. New quality salespeople have joined the company. Regular sales training meetings have been established. Sales are up 40% in just 10 months.
The owner of the construction company set up a separate company for his race car passion.
Job expectations have been documented for the entire team (including family members). The eldest son is in charge of business development and the son in law is now the project manager. A compensation plan and equity earn program has been implemented.
A new CFO has been hired. He has 25 years experience in construction accounting. Payroll taxes are current.
Quality is in control with the implementation of new processes and compliance reviews.
Sales are up by $4 million in only 9 months.
The owner has set up a trust fund and a 36-month exit strategy. He is in the office only 3 days a week. The family members are competing for the “president’s job”.
As a business coach, I will help you uncover the real problems and avoid becoming “stuck” on the “symptoms”. Pointing out what I may see as the obvious will not fix everything. When you acknowledge the causes and take action, only then will things change. You begin to own it!
A coach makes you accountable for what has transpired. A coach helps you devise solutions and an executable plan.
You need to decide to decide to confront the truths when you run a business.
I will help you make tough decisions, execute, hold you accountable and celebrate victories.
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