What is your response to undesirable recurring patterns of events in the day-to-day operations of your business? Do you and your managers simply “react” by putting out fires, slapping on a quick fix, or continually step in and just “take care of it”? Do you have a culture that fosters and reinforces a mindset of “strategic response”?
Reacting versus Responding
At EMyth we talk quite a bit about key frustrations that occur in a business. A key frustration, as we tend to define it, is simply an ” undesirable recurring pattern of events” that create frustration on the part of the owner, the management, the staff, and – oftentimes – even the customers.
They are those little and not-so-little things that happen with frustrating frequency that shouldn’t. Or, perhaps, they are things that should happen, but too often don’t. Missed deadlines, lost purchase orders, misplaced deliveries, meetings that are chaotic and unproductive, employees giving wrong information to customers or one another, and any number of other maddeningly inefficiencies.
Key frustrations are distinguished from occasional lapses in performance or simply mistakes in that they occur with a frequency that should trigger a more comprehensive response from management, but more often than not simply cause reactive activity.
Again and again.
And. Nothing. Changes.
A more strategic response would be to, first, identify the culprit for what it is: a key frustration. And any key frustration has, at its root, an underlying cause or a combination of causes. And the key to eliminating the key frustration lies in identifying these and then concocting an effective system or systems to resolve them.
Here is a brief overview for looking at the process as answering a series of simple questions:
1. What’s frustrating me with this scenario?
2. Who and/or what is contributing to the frustration and how?
3. What is the underlying theme or condition of the frustration?
4. What exactly is the impact of the frustration? (think: time, money, impact on customers)
5. What is the solution going to essentially and generically look like?
6. Does it make sense to address this now? Can we afford the right solution? If not, when?
7. What exactly and specifically does the system need to look like?
8. How exactly will the system be implemented?
Systems and processes
While no one system is perfect, the lack of systems and processes typically underlies the inefficiencies and key frustrations in most businesses. Well thought-out systems can minimize and, many times, eliminate these problems.
And while it’s certainly not rocket science, it doesn’t require an MBA to pull it off either! The good news is that your undesirable recurring patterns of events can be responded to effectively.
And you and your managers can put away your firefighter helmets.
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