Skip to main content

If your business’ growth is stagnating it might be time to talk about the things that bug you!

On our quest to grow our businesses it can sometimes be frustrating when our progress slows down. With growth comes both rewards and frustrations; getting past the frustrations is key to the next phase of growth and it usually starts with a conversation.
Perspective is an interesting thing. What you see from your point of view is not always the full picture. When you start to engage your colleagues and staff in dialogue around the things that are frustrating you in the business you can often find new ways to deal with these problems. As the saying goes ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.

Stop solving the 'non-problems'
Better than sharing the burden of dealing with problems is the opportunity to discover ‘non-problems’. It is uncanny just how many businesses spend time, effort and resources trying to solve things that are not real problems for a business. When you talk with your staff you will be able to reflect on this idea – do we need to solve a specific problem, or is it something else that we should be focusing on? If you are familiar with ‘root cause problem solving’ approaches this would be the time to deploy these methods and make sure that you are spending time on the right things. (Note – if you don’t know about root cause problem solving let me know and I’ll tell you all about it.)

Discover more about your business and then grow
Learning comes from discovery and discovery often comes through the discussions you have with your staff. One of the recognised wastes in business is the ‘untapped human potential’ that is present in most businesses. Every person who participates in your business will undoubtedly have ideas and experiences that can be used to solve current problems and to make the business both more effective and more efficient. Again, tapping into this stream of insight requires a conversation to be undertaken.

Clear the obstacles that stop you thinking about growth
Talking about the problems faced by your business (the things that really bug you!) is an essential starting point to initiate the next phase of growth, if the expansion has started to slow down. If there are too many issues facing us in our businesses, then we usually disengage from our plans. If we feel that we can’t cope with our current issues why would we want to have more of the same. For this reason it is vital that we start the right kinds of discussions to get us past this stumbling block.

To put this into context I recall working in an operations management role where our business failed to get past a specific turnover (and profit margin of course!). There were often comments about why would we want to increase our turnover if we couldn’t cope with our current sales levels. It was a fair comment, we consistently delivered late and our customers were rightly annoyed with us. We started a dialogue about our failings and soon came up with an action plan. The action plan gave the staff confidence and within a few short months our customers were no longer complaining. The right conversations allowed us to reinforce our business processes and prepared us for what was about to come… we tripled our turnover without increasing our workforce (and yes, the margin increased significantly). That’s what happens when the right conversations are undertaken.

A resource to help you change
Having the right conversations might not always be easy, but that’s why I created the Making It Happen programme. I took the best bits from my client projects and created a resource that can be used to help make improvements happen quicker; essential if you want to get your growth plans back on track. You can find out more about Making It Happen by clicking here.

I hope that you take a few minutes out from your business today to look at what is bugging you about your business and reflect upon it. If the issue in question is stopping you from leading your business to higher levels of growth then it might be time for you to start your own conversation about the issue. Learn more about it, gather helpers to conquer it and then do something to change the situation. And then you can get your mind back on to issues of growth.


All the best,


Giles


Get your improvement projects moving with 'Making It Happen'

If you want some tools and techniques to help your improvement projects come to life then check out my continuous improvement toolkit - Making It Happen.

The toolkit includes tried and tested strategies and methods that I use with my clients to help them achieve the results they needed in their businesses.

Just knowing the improvement methods is not always enough, often it is the strategies that make the methods work that yield the results.

To learn more about the toolkit, and what it covers, click here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Kamishibai Boards

Some tools are incredibly simple to use, and also deliver some amazing results. Kamishibai boards are a great example and are superb when you want some visual control over routine tasks. By the way Kamishibai is pronounced "come-e-she-bye" in case you were wondering!
As simple as you could want it, a Kamishibai board is a T-card system that has red cards glued to green
cards (so that each T-card has a red side and a green side). The red cards are for the incomplete tasks, where as the green cards symbolise that the work has been done. See the photo below of a board in use.
On the red side of the card you write the name of the task that needs to be completed, and if appropriate you can include details of how the task is to be completed. This is not expected to replace standard operating procedures, but can be a good opportunity for an aide memoire.
The boards can be organised for daily, weekly and even monthly cycles. They are great as part of a 5S implementation (the Susta…

Do You Put Enough Effort Into Changing How Your Business Works?

If you're reading this blog post it is a fair guess that you are looking to improve how your business works. So, what do you think about the question I have posed as the title of this article?
The reality is that if you could make a change happen with the same amount of effort that you current expend in your business changes would be happening left, right and centre. If you want to make a change stick in your business you need to increase your levels of effort temporarily. Without this increase in effort it is unlikely that the change you want will take place and sustain.
I recall when I worked as a Production Manager and the OTIF (On Time In Full) performance of our business was certainly not where it needed to be. For years the business had struggled to raise its level of performance; no additional effort had been expended. I planned out sixteen small improvement projects to address this and I got started with the changes. It was hard work at times and the work was on top of my…

Seeing the Improvement Wood for the Chaos Trees!

How are you feeling about your business the moment?

Are you feeling frustrated and irritated by the apparent lack of progress being made with your improvements?

If you answer ‘yes’ to this second question, don’t worry, you are not alone!

We all feel this way at times and the reason I am writing this article is that if you feel this way right now then I want to reassure you that there is a simple way to get out of this situation. I have been in this situation many times in both my operational life and as a consultant. It is normal and taking a deep breath and stepping back from the noise of the day-to-day is essential.

Let me take you through the three quick steps of Stopping, Assessing and Acting.


Take stock of where you are right now

In order for us to step back and try and see some of the ‘improvement wood’ as I refer to in the title of this article we need to have a simple question to focus our attention. A question I recommend that you ask is:

“Do our current processes suit the need…