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No. 1 foolish behavior an obstacle to growing business

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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After 16-plus years of working with small business owners and senior level executives, I have observed a lot of foolish behaviors. Yet there are seven words that consistently top all others:

“We have always done it this way.”

Wow! How can any business grow with a mindset and behaviors that are always the same?

And what is even worse, this behavior many times starts at the top with executive leadership.

How many businesses are still interviewing their applicants essentially the same way?

Research has revealed that 90 percent of those doing the interviewing are not trained professional interviewers. Also, with the continued advancement of technology, video interviewing is gaining traction. This type of interviewing requires new skill sets. Bottom line: Doing it the same way is extremely costly and drains profits.

Then there is the foolish behavior of promoting the “super worker” to supervisor without recognizing the newly promoted employee lacks the skills necessary to be an effective one. This foolish behavior exemplifies, “What got you to where you are will not get you to where you need to be.”

However, many firms have always promoted from within and that promotion was based on the employee being the super salesperson, super warehouse person, super filing clerk, etc.

By examining all the internal operations of any organization, one will hear omeone say, “We have always done it this way.”

This mantra flows through accounting practices to communication to actually delivering the solutions to even training.

Years ago in working with a multi-billion dollar corporation, the C-Suite executive was frustrated with not receiving a specific and extensive monthly report on time for board meetings. I sat down with two of her key people and we mapped the flow of this report using a Fishbone Diagram. We then also calculated how many people touched this report, the time involved and the respective costs.

The result was a monthly cost of over $30,000 with over 20 people being involved during a four-week workflow.

By having the flow of work mapped out, we then started eliminating “touches” and within 60 days the cost dropped to under $5,000 and was delivered 24 hours ahead of the monthly board meeting date. The new reporting process was touched by eight people and had a timeline of less than 10 days.

Training is another deep hole of “we have always done it this way.” Most training, if any is actually available, is delivered in one- or two-day learning events. The problem is after two weeks without any additional reinforcement, there is only a 2 percent retention average.

Also, the majority of training does not allow for practice and feedback. How often are salespeople given minimum role training with no onboarding and then end up making costly mistakes?

Yes “we have always done it this way” is foolish behavior and reflects a business that does not have forward thinking leadership and one that will eventually cease to exist.

P.S. Shout Out: Paul Kennedy of PrePaid Lega/Legal Shield in Dyer and Tom Kennedy of Kennedy Mazda in Valparaiso both support crazy busy professionals.



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