Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out why some things within your business don’t work quite the way you want them to. In that case, zooming in on some of the common problem areas might be helpful. Let’s take a look at the key inefficiencies that might be slowing down your business, and what you can do to fix them.
Diagnosis #1: Distrust in Management
Symptoms: It’s natural for employees to look up to their bosses for guidance, direction, and support. But when they see their superiors demonstrating nepotism, lack of organization, or questionable work ethics, they might lose not just their confidence and trust, but motivation as well.
Remedy: A little shake up in the hierarchy can prove to be beneficial. It can range from a frank discussion with a manager about how they can tweak their leadership style to build cohesion within their team to a reassignment of a supervisor to another function, where their approach to work might be more suitable.
Diagnosis #2: Unhealthy Work Environment
Symptoms: When left unchecked, this problem can lead to a high employee turnover rate. Incompetent management, overtime, poor delegation of tasks, and unnecessarily restrictive policies are just some of many causes that tend to lower office morale, leading to less than stellar performance and even resignation.
Remedy: A negative setting can be due to just one major cause or a combination of minor ones. The best way to figure that out is to ask employees what they see as the most problematic matter with their work and/or the company itself, either informally, or through written interviews or appraisals, and then act accordingly.
Diagnosis #3: Underperforming/Incompetent Staff
Symptoms: A company’s manpower serves as its backbone. And since each employee makes their own contribution to the success of a business, when someone’s not pulling their weight, it can greatly impact the overall productivity of the team.
Remedy: When positive reinforcement—in the form of encouraging words or even incentives—does not work, a more direct approach of one-on-one discussion about their performance is a great alternative. And if all else fails, letting them go might be the most logical move.
Diagnosis #4: Outdated Technology
Symptoms: You know you can’t afford obsolete technology when you spend more time troubleshooting problems and fixing mistakes made by your systems than you would’ve spent if you performed the task at hand without computer help. If you and your staff repeatedly experience the same problems, things have to change.
Remedy: It’s best to stay on top of the upgrades, while also keeping compatibility with other digital solutions in mind (i.e. no need to rush implementing until the new solution is stable). If something can be automated at a reasonable cost – go for it. And even when you think your systems are running smoothly, it pays to be open to optimization ideas suggested by your employees, as integrating them could help minimize the number of errors and speed up operations.
Diagnosis #5: Misaligned Policies
Symptoms: Are your company policies unjustifiably stringent on matters such as tardiness, dress code, or even certain standard procedures and protocols? If the answer is yes, it can be quite discouraging for your staff. On the other hand, unclear guidelines might frustrate your employees, and be just as harmful.
Remedy: There should be a balance between preserving the company identity and creating a productive and welcoming working environment. In some cases it involves relaxing certain rules, while in others, clarifying everyday protocols might prove beneficial.
Understanding and periodically reassessing these common weakness areas is the first step to maintaining the well-oiled machine that is your business.
Have you dealt with any of these problems as a manager? Share your advice!
About The Author: BridgeShowroom
Ken Nachbar is a co-founder and partner in Bridge Showroom. Ken loves working with designers, helping them open new doors, find new customers, and grow their businesses. With bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ken combines 25 years of management skill and experience with his passion for fashion.
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