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Five Ineffective Business Practices & Attitudes

Updated on October 21, 2010
Kick out ineffective practices with effective ones for a successful business.
Kick out ineffective practices with effective ones for a successful business.

Tips for Replacing Ineffective Practices with Effective Ones

Is your business or organization operating on 20th century practices that have become ineffective? Does your management still function on philosophies that were introduced at the beginning of the Industrial Age? Doing business in the 21st century is quite different than what we experienced in the 20th century and certain practices and attitudes need to change.

The following are 5 business practices and attitudes that are now ineffective:

  1. The Annual Performance Appraisal
  2. A "Hands-on" Manager
  3. "The Customer is Always Right"
  4. Promoting "Healthy Competition" among Peers
  5. Layoffs as a Quick-Fix to the Bottom Line

The Annual Performance Appraisal

Giving employee performance feedback on an annual basis is too late to do any good. Performance feedback is more effective when given on a regular basis. In today's workplace, formal feedback should be given monthly and informal feedback on a daily basis.

The purpose for providing performance feedback to employees is to help them stay on course or make any adjustments before performance becomes a problem. Performance feedback is a “proactive” process that keeps your employees informed and engaged in their jobs. By providing formal feedback on a monthly basis integrates the giving and receiving of feedback into your normal business practices.

A "Hands-on" Manager

The "hands-on" manager is usually an exceptional employee that is rewarded by a management promotion. They are experts at their job but either have no leadership’s skills (undeveloped or otherwise). A manager with direct reports is more effective when they devote the majority of their time to coaching their staff. How often do you see a professional sport's coach also play in the game?

For the most part, you don’t see coaches playing with the team during the game. Coaches are on the sidelines giving feedback, making adjustments, giving encouragement, providing resources to get the job done. They know how the game is played, they were probably a player at one time, and they use their expertise to coach and build a strong team. Isn’t that what your managers, supervisors, and leaders should be doing?

"The Customer is Always Right"

The reality is that many customers are often misinformed and in some situations a little devious. In today's business environment with so much participation in Social Media forums, customers have a platform for voicing this dissatisfaction or satisfaction with your company that you have no control over. Therefore, the slogan for the 21st century should be: "The Customer Must Be Respected"

Customers want to be respected. If they have a problem with your product or service, they want you to take a keen interest in taking care of their needs. When a customer is wrong, they need to be informed with the correct information and assist them with making corrections or adjustments. When a customer is disrespected, they will voice their displeasure in any number of the social networking website they belong to. Many businesses are learning the lessons of the “power of one” when they express their feelings to their friends on sites such as Facebook.

"Healthy Competition" Among Peers

This practice was once thought to incite peers to perform at a 110% or higher with the "winner" receiving special recognition by the boss. What it actually incites is an unhealthy competition that in some cases results in sabotage, cheating, divisions, turf wars, etc. with a negative impact on the business and customers. Wouldn't your business get better results if the entire organization operated as a team?

Teamwork within your organization promotes cohesiveness and removes “silos” and barriers that undermine the business. When your organization functions as a team then everyone knows their roles and the importance of their position to make the business successful.

Layoffs as a Quick Fix to the Bottom Line

When times get tough, many business panic and start layoffs of "non-essential" personnel or "trim the fat" to become leaner. Who are they fooling? A business shouldn't operate with "non-essential" employees in the first place. An organization with "excess fat" is an unhealthy organization with an implication of not being a strategic organization. Short-term fixes DO NOT result in long-term positive results.

There are times when layoffs are necessary, especially when an organization is in a declining industry or has been bought-out and integrated into another organization. Layoffs should never be the first option for improving business performance. When times are tough, turn everyone into a part-time sales person and/or get employee feedback on how to turn things around. Keep in touch with your customers and your competition. Stay on top of trends in your industry. BE PROACTIVE and avoid the need for layoffs.

Doing business today requires adjustments to our standard business mindsets. What may have worked in the last century will not necessarily work in the 21st. Take the lead in your industry and eliminate ineffective business practices and attitudes!

Ineffective Business Practices Poll

Which practice or attitude should be first to go?

See results


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      Amanda Tallman 6 years ago from Vermont

      What an amazing article! A lot of what you touched upon is what I've been reading about as leading to lower productivity in the workplace so I kind of had a hard time choosing what I feel needs to go first. Given recent experience, I would say layoffs as quick fixes seem to be a huge problem in today's workplace, especially when a manager may find an employee as threatening, not because the employee is doing anything wrong, but because the employee is doing a lot to make improvements in the workplace.

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      Randy West 7 years ago

      I see Yearly appraisals as a waste of time. By the time you visit the problems, it is old hat and personell have gone on to more important issues. An appraisal is best visited as an immediate conference, so the employee can grasp the fresh idea and understand the need for change . Also imput is better done when questions arise, and this aviods misunderstandings. I don't want to know what i did wrong a year ago, I want to know the solution as soon as possible. Why fester problems for long periods of time. Get the solution in the open and avoid anger and resentment. Knowing what the situation is and how to reach a connection with management, should be the motavation for better communication and a healthy environment with your supervisor, and what is expected in the workplace.