Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Rabbit Hole

There's an article worth noting in Jacksonville's Business Journal by Ray Attiyah. His premise is that managers should not chase more than one "rabbit" at a time and he offers a very clear analysis based on experience of why organizations lose focus. I like that he draws to the surface a substantial list of contributing factors but wish he offered a clear-cut systematic plan to avoid chasing two rabbits—or even chasing one down its hole, only to disappear. So, here is the systematic plan that I'd like to offer to small business owners and executives who feel overwhelmed by frequent changes in direction and its compounding problems:

Step 1: Be willing to look squarely at the state of affairs. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to admit errors, bad decisions, barriers to success, market challenges, and customer complaints. If you can silence the ego long enough to examine the environment without blame or judgement, you can overcome any obstacles.

Step 2: Identify root causes (as hard as they may be to admit), again in a way that rises above finger-pointing and blame-laying. However, do not shy away from crucial conversations. Be honest with yourself and others.

Step 3: Make gradual steps toward improvement by eliminating root causes. Enlist support where you need it and focus on what contributing factors must be minimized to foment change.

Sometimes this all of this is easier with the help of an outside, objective observer and facilitator, particularly in organizations rife with political battles. Scary as it may seem, the rewards of these steps are well worth it for those who truly want to lead a successful company.

Visit my site for upcoming events and additional resources: www.tracydiziere.com/learn

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