Identifying Problems Early in Their Development

The Challenge Defined:

As your company becomes more complex, it’s harder to detect problems that may be just beneath the surface, creating cracks that could sink your organization. The key for you is to take every negative undercurrent or troubling indicator seriously. Assume that where there’s smoke, there’s probably a fire. 

And if you smell smoke, is your first tendency to say, “Oh that can’t be true” or “That’s not really a very big deal,” or “We’ll grow out of it,” or the worst, “I just don’t have time for that right now.” 

To forecast problem areas before they surface, here are a few things to focus on:

  • Profit and loss statements can point out worrisome trends from month to month or year over year. 
  • Staff turnover is a good indicator of how employees see the future of the company as well as their future with the company. Increasingly higher turnover could be a signal that your people see fundamental problems – perhaps in mid-level management. 
  • Active managerial engagement with their teams can spur the kind of trust and feedback that elicits important operational intelligence about the systems and processes that are working and the ones that need to be improved. 

Critical Questions:

  • How do you proactively look for potential problems in your company?
  • How do you react when someone suggests there might be a problem?
  • How closely do you examine your financial reports? Do you know what key indicators to look for in them?
  • Do you have a health bottom-up employee feedback mechanism?

Why This Challenge Must Be Resolved:

As a business owner, you need to stay two steps ahead of problems. If you wait until the problem emerges, it could significantly disrupt your proactive agenda. And at worst, the problem could fester, grow, and sink your company.

Need help with this topic or leadership coaching? Contact Mission Critical Teams.