Product Quality, Productivity Low, Shipping Slow, Customers Complaining?

End These Problems Once And For All

What do you want first, the bad news or the really bad news?

If you are the usual production, quality, financial, personnel manager, and overall kingpin in the business (family or otherwise) and you don’t find any GOOD NEWS when you get to your office, what do you expect?  Look for someone to talk to.

What about the conversations you had with your operating managers (the rest of your family) asking you to think about the things you threw into your mental avoidance wastebasket yesterday?

Oh yes, it’s the things you don’t see in making a tour that are beginning to fray: orders slipping, shipping costs and arrival times going up, unopened suggestion box, holes in your employee list unfilled, memos piled up in your desk drawers, customer service asked for more help answering the phone calls and emails.

Think of all the things that need attention—all the things that you should have done something about and didn’t.

Got that all in focus?  Now create a complete to-do list.  From that list, pick out the person you are going to see first.  That means, visit the person who usually asks the most questions.  Feel your trust for that person settle in.  Ask them what needs their attention and find out what they are going to do about it.  Encourage them to proceed to do what they said should be done, or tweak something small so they remain responsible for their actions.

Then go to problem two on your priority list, ask the same questions and empower that person to act as well.  Do the same until your problem list is completed.

Now, close your eyes and congratulate yourself, because you have delegated your authority and multiplied the number of people who are solving the problems you didn’t get to.  It’s OK if you wonder why you never thought of that before.

Now Think Some More and Harder This Time!

Wonder how you could create a business where everyone is responsible for thinking how they could resolve any issue themselves and then asking for help up the line when they find questions marks in their mind instead of “this is how to go about it” answers.

Now look at what you have created: a business where people are responsible for thought before action.  Mistakes are OK because leaving things to deteriorate by themselves is also a mistake.  (You made that one when you started your company, right?)

What you want to create is a feeling of safety, where collaboration, freedom to talk straight and question your own decisions as well as those of others is the expected norm.  And you can do all those things without fear of retaliation.

What results is a cohesive, resilient team who solves problems and improves the company they work for because they believe in it.  And because working there lets them feel the energy of their actions.  They feel alive when they come to work and go home feeling how glad they are to work for you.  Now you and your team have better news.


It’s not the money they make but the actions they take that build the confidence in them that they can take into their whole life. 

And it is that confidence that gives them a future of solving business and personal problems themselves.  It also gives them the knowledge that they can ask someone for help knowing that asking alone is not a reason for criticism.

What should be changed is the not- asking that leads to problems getting out of hand and destroying everyone’s tranquility and your business.

OK, Which Do You Want First Now?

The really bad news or the good news that the person who reported the bad news is working on the problem and will tell you when it has been resolved.  Now that is news you can take to your customers, the bank, the family and the board room.   That adds to your confidence too doesn’t it?