You may consider this a bit harsh but in many cases it is so true. Business owners can’t see the obvious things right in front of them! The reality is that they choose to maintain unrealistic beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The position of the company will not improve until such time as action is taken to change things within the organisation.
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins referred to this as Confronting the Brutal Facts. By that he means, that companies need to take stock of their current reality for what it is. If you begin with an honest assessment of where you truly are now in terms of your current situation, the right decisions often present themselves. He goes on to say that it is impossible to to make good decisions without an honest assessment of the brutal facts.
So what are the types of things that we need to take a reality check over? Just the basics really. Falling sales and margins will affect our profitability and cash-flow over time. Ordinary team members will affect our service delivery and drive out our high performing team members. Poor systems and processes will affect the output of our product or service. A lack of innovation will leave the business languishing in the past. Ad hoc and poorly structured marketing will see our sales pipeline dry up. And the issues go on…..
So how do we avoid being one of the delusional tribe? Three simple tips:
- Strategic SWOT
Undertake a situation analysis using the headings Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This allows us to really pinpoint what the real issues are. You’ll find a printable version of our SWOT template under the Free Stuff tab on our website. It’s a great exercise and an even better tool for strategy development, for instance how can we use our strengths to commercialise our opportunities. The list of ideas can build so easily.
Having done your SWOT should make it easy to highlight your current hot issues. I like to use the Magic Wand tool and simply pose the question; If you had a magic wand and didn’t have to worry about the cost or how you would do it, what things would you change in the business?
Once you understand your current situation you can become more strategic and work out where you want the business to be, and then detail the how steps in the light of what needs fixing to get us where we want to be at some point in the future.
- Take Action
It really is that simple! Undertaking the above 2 exercises should give your business an enormous reality check and a truck load of strategies and actions to drive your business forward.
Okay, the final piece of this puzzle is that it’s hard to do this by yourself. Of course that comment comes from a place of self interest but it is oh so true. Get help and and begin to get real control and momentum in your business!
I look forward to sharing with you again next week. Thanks for dropping by.