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I Know Who Moved My Cheese, But Who Drank The Kool-Aid?
America is known as the country of entrepreneurs. At least, that was what America used to be. Today American business is under attack from so many directions and management is under tremendous pressure. Not only are we businessmen under pressure to perform, we are under pressure just to keep the doors open and the lights on.
When a manager is being hit from all sides simultaneously, he will make mistakes because he becomes reactive rather than proactive. As his mistakes accumulate, he loses confidence in his judgment and his abilities. He then looks to others to help him make his decisions. He weighs all the pros, cons and what ifs. Before he realizes it, he is no longer in control of his company or his destiny. The decisions he should be making, he is leaving to others. Unfortunately, these others are also stressed and under great pressure and they too no longer trust in their judgment and abilities and make their decisions based on fear and trepidation.
When someone in the company comes up with a daring plan that can save the business, the fearful will council inaction because they are afraid that any actions could speed the demise of the company. They no longer have confidence in management and look to keep their pay checks coming for as long as possible. These people are not risk takers; they are employees with families, mortgages and bills unpaid. For them, risk is just not in their psychological make-up.
The problem is clear, without daring action, the business will fail, with daring action there is no guarantee the business will succeed. What to do? Action is a decision, inaction, although passive, is also a decision. Recently, I was hired as a business consultant for a business in this predicament. The owner of the business wanted to try a strategy that was both daring and risky. However, it was a sound strategy and it has proven successful for other companies I have worked with. His decision to go ahead with the plan would return the margins to the company and restore profitability.
Unfortunately, the business owner has lost millions of dollars and no longer trusts his own judgment. His staff no longer trusts him. The staff, afraid the owner will go down the wrong road cannot support his desire to risk in order to save. They have peppered him with negative thoughts and have instilled in him great doubt. I feel badly for him and his staff. As of this moment, the jury is out as to whether he will risk his remaining money to save his company.
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