The Labor Day holiday was great; but it means summer is over. The time has come to get back to full working capacity and deal with everything you allowed to slide during the summer. Where do you go from here?
If you have been following our blog during the summer, you are already familiar with Trilogy’s proprietary change curve. You might have determined already where your company is currently located on the curve. If you have not done so, it will be helpful to assess the mood within your company. You will also want to know how your sales and profitability are trending.
Asking the Hard Questions
The hard questions must be asked and answered in order for you to move the company in the right direction. One reason these are hard questions is that you must be brutally honest with yourself and your employees. These are the first hard questions:
- What internal conditions contributed to our current situation?
- What external conditions contributed to our current situation?
- What did we do right along the way?
- What did we do wrong?
- What did we overlook?
- What can we learn?
Your answers to the hard questions will provide some of the answers you need. The answers will also generate additional questions you must answer. When you have answered the questions honestly and thoroughly, you will be ready to make difficult decisions.
However, the final hard question is the most important. With answers to all of the questions before you, are you ready to accept the need for change? Until you can accept change, you will not move your company forward in any significant way.
Making the Difficult Decisions
If you can accept the need for change in your company, you must first address attitudes – yours and those of your leadership team and employees. Attitude sets the tone for the entire process ahead of you. It multiplies abilities and directly influences what you want to achieve and how you will cope with the changes necessary to put the company back on the upswing. Attitude will determine
- Whether you can maintain focus to improve or you must accept inertia
- Whether you will move into an improvement mind-set or remain satisfied with the status quo
- Whether you solve problems or succumb to them
- Whether behaviors will align the organization or keep it segmented
Your answers to the hard questions tell you what went wrong – and what went right. They also tell you why things went wrong. They should lead to recognition of the steps you must take to change the results the company will achieve.
The difficult decisions will be about what you must do to get your company off the plateau or out of the dip. The difficult decisions will be about money, and people, and organizational structure, and corporate mind-set. When you make the difficult decisions for yourself and for the company, you must lead with all the strength you can muster.
The only way you can lead your company to the kind of sustainable results you want is by asking the hard questions, honestly analyzing the answers, making the difficult decisions, and providing strong leadership to implement the decisions and change the company for a stronger and brighter future.