January 21, 2013
8 Ways To Fail Your Company

Sure, companies fail — but are you failing your company?

Here are eight ways you could be failing your business and your employees:

Your eye has started to wander. You’re bored because, well, things have gotten a little stale. You don’t want to necessarily leave, but you’ve started to look for a little variety. You’re thinking about moving on to another opportunity, starting your own business or side venture, and you pay less and less attention to what really matters.

In the process results, relationships with customers and suppliers, and employee morale all suffer.

You don’t owe your company everything – but you do owe it your best.

You focus on the wrong line. When revenue is down it’s natural to focus on cutting costs, especially if, like me, you don’t come from a sales background. Instead of focusing on the top line and growing sales, you cut and cut and cut until nothing is left.

Sometimes it is impossible to save your way to profitability, and focusing on top-line growth is the only long-term answer.

You use “we” at the wrong times. You know there is no “I” in “team” so you try to say “we” – but at the wrong times.

“We worked straight through the weekend” sounds good… unless you stayed home while your employees were at work.

“We need to cut down on errors” sounds good… unless you’re the only one who made the mistakes.

Use “I” whenever you personally make a mistake, and use “we” whenever you do something positive.

You network rather than sell. Networking is like sowing seeds. Selling is like harvesting crops.

To survive your company needs sales, not business cards and handshakes. Spend all your time networking on the golf course, at restaurants and at social events instead of getting out and selling and revenue suffers.

Network some of the time. Sell all of the time.

You lose your nerve. Bravery is not an absence of fear. Bravery is facing the fear, the insecurity and the indecision, and forging ahead.

If you’ve lost the courage to stand by your beliefs, make bold decisions or go against conventional wisdom, it might be time to move on.

You’re in it for glory. Does your position, and your company, serve as an extension of your ego? Is your role more of a status symbol? Is your company on display for the greater glory of you?

Your job is to serve your business. Your company and your employees should not serve you – especially not your ego.

You’re afraid to say “Yes!” and “No!”. The buck does stop with you. Seek input. Collaborate. Ask for advice.

But, when push comes to shove, always make your decisions. Draw on the expertise of people you trust, but don’t let other people make decisions for you.

You can’t stop searching for that one big idea. Innovations and breakthroughs do sometimes build great companies. Innovations and breakthroughs are hard to develop and even harder to deploy, though.

Most companies succeed through hard work, attention to detail and consistent execution.

Ignore ideas and small improvements while you search for that one incredible breakthrough, and your company will fail.

A big idea is unlikely to transform your business; executing lots of small ideas can build a great business.