The surprise results of the 2016 Presidential election begs many questions. For leaders, there are meaningful parallels to draw. How vulnerable are you to to detrimental surprises in your company? Your wisdom as a leader is based on what you know. Your decisions and behaviors come from what you know. So, what do you really know?
What is your risk of being blindsided with your business, like so many experts with this election?
Correlating with what contributed to the surprises with the election, here are 5 questions to ask yourself.
Who doesn't love a quick fix? In our 21st-century western culture, this is practically part of our DNA. Got a pain? Pop a pill. Want a perfect lawn? Spray this around. Looking to lose weight? Drink this. VOILA! Problem solved!
Certainly, this is present in our workplace as well. Want more employee engagement? Put managers through a two-hour communications training. Want to do better hiring? Get someone to write you the perfect interview questions. For non-profits, want more donations? Send another mailer.
Might there be some positive return from these efforts? Maybe. At some level. For some period of time. However, the likelihood of meaningful performance improvement at the desired level is slim. Are you okay with a quick fix that yields a quick uptick in performance, or are you wanting real results?
The quick fix is appealing because it often requires limited investment of time exploring the situation and various routes to pursue change. The initial time investment is the starting place for real change. Note that "time investment" doesn't have to be a 6-month initiative with dreadful weekly meetings. It could be just an hour or two with the right people at the table focusing and thinking together.
If you want to take the time to do a root cause analysis and solution design, here are questions to ask.
Tis the season for planning! So, where are you with your planning for next year? Are goals set? Strategies in place?
Most importantly, did you address the two planning questions that will determine your success or failure?
To illustrate the importance of these questions, I want to introduce you to Jane, at ABC Tech. All too frequently I find myself across from Jane and her colleagues when they have not asked the critical planning questions, and they need help picking up the pieces.
ABC Tech provides outsourced IT management and support for small to medium sized businesses. Jane was one of the first employees, and has overseen Client Service since she joined. By all accounts she has done a brilliant job building this function of the company and her success has been key for the company’s growth. She had a team of 3 last year, and then added 1 new person this year. Business is booming and next year her team is slated to grow to 10.