The truth is when the company's growth seems so strong and certain that it can go on autopilot, management relaxes its reign on the strategy and the execution of it, allowing a once-closely directed business to float. In the vacuum this creates, complacency takes hold. You know it by the unmistakable signs: Attention focuses inward, warring camps develop, declining revenues are attributed to a downturn in the economy. Everyone internally is absolved of responsibility and freed from the need to address the real issues and to find meaningful ways to turn the company around.
So much of the business textbook is ruled by conventional thinking. Think of this as a set of rules and beliefs passed along through the generations that have stuck in spite of the fact that they have little value.
Consider the widely-held belief in the 80/20 rule. In one application, this holds that 20 percent of a company's salespeople will always account for 80 percent of its sales. Well, this may often be true, we should not accept it as the gospel. You are then accepting the "law" that 80 percent of your salespeople are failures, yet kept on the payroll to validate, yes--the 80/20 rule (which should be renamed the 80/20 myth).
Knowing that your company is failing to perform to its greatest potential is not sufficient to engineer a turnaround. The time for accusing others, pointing fingers, making excuses, blaming it on the economy, absorbing the pabulum of professors, coaches and motivational speakers is OVER! You must declare war on yourself. War that is designed to replace bad habits and conventional thinking with a fresh perspective on what it takes to drive your business to a best of breed enterprise.
Are you ready to declare war?
Mark Stevens is CEO of management and marketing firm MSCO, a popular media commentator, and author of several bestselling business books including King Icahn and his latest, "Your Company Sucks: It's Time to Declare War on Yourself".
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