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What to do when all of a sudden you aren't getting the small things right

What to do when all of a sudden you aren't getting the small things right

Something that I live by in business is systems, processes and technology. Together they make a formidable trio.

Running businesses can be incredibly hard, well at least I think so. It takes a tough person to go through all the challenges that you are faced with from a day-to-day basis and just when you think you have nailed it, something else comes up and remind you that you haven't.

I look at my earlier days in business, some twenty years ago, and I think back to when a problem happened in the business how much I took it personally. I use to feel like it was the end of the world if someone was unhappy with any aspect of the work we did, or the service we gave. When an employee left, it was person although funnily enough when I had less skills at working through normal employee challenges, they stayed a lot longer - but perhaps that was a generational thing.

Now, it's less personal, more professional. When a problem needs to be solved, it takes a team. When a tough decision has to be made about the business, it takes decisiveness. If an employee has to go, I too often just sit on my hands and it takes others to push my hand. So while business decisions on a whole are black and white, people decisions are things that I find difficult. I think about whether or not they are going through personal issues, if they have rent to pay, how it reflects on their resume and I always believe in second chances.

We have so many documented systems and processes, that if people use this manual, it is difficult to get it wrong. You see, marketing isn't all that it seems. So much of it is basically following a process, after the strategy has been done.

Like any business, when people deviate from the systems and processes, things can and do go wrong. Yesterday, was a classic example of that. Shortcutting the basics means that things fall between the cracks and get missed, or that we don't do all the things we promise we will do.

Every person is trained on what those systems and processes are, and they all follow them until they don't. They are human, of course. We all sometimes fall down when it comes to doing the things we need to do, but it is hard to explain that externally. What does that actually mean? No matter how many processes you have in place, things fall through the gaps, people will not always follow the guidelines and there will be others that are just lazy.

If this is happening in your business, then here are a few ways to get back on track:

  • Regular training of systems, processes and use of technology
  • Role playing and train the trainer programs
  • Sessions on what makes your company successful and what role the team plays in that
  • Customers talking to staff about what their expectations are, and how important it is that the role you play is done properly
  • Incentivise your team to not cut corners
  • Have technology pick up where it can, staff that are not following the procedures
  • Automate as much as possible.

As entrepreneurs, we have a hard job. Employees do too. For most, going to work each day whether we like it or not is about a pay packet or climbing their career ladder only to use the skills they have gained from you to get to the next level. Our jobs as their coaches and sometimes mentors is to ensure that they learn as much as possible on this journey so that they can go out into the world and play an important role in your industry.

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