Want to hear something really scary?
Entreprenuers and CEOs are not of the faint-of-heart ilk. They step up to uncertainty and challenges everyday that most people would find daunting or downright frightening.
Still, there are some things that keep business leaders up at night. Some horrors that cause them to cast furtive glances over their shoulder in a dark break room. Business worries such as what I have gathered to be the Top 3 Scariest Business Threats to the midsize corporate leader are as follows.....grab the popcorn!
#1-Competition is More Advanced that You Are
These days you need magic to keep up with the latest and greatest. Whether it is getting more feedback from your customers, keeping up with promotional platforms, increasing employee engagement...everyone seems to have new tools. Have you heard about (insert meaningless web name here)? They are much better at (some sensitive business goal you've been mulling over)? And for half the cost of (your current solution)?
The truth in harsh daylight however is that early adopters often end up investing in solutions that are disjointed, poorly adopted by staff, redundant, or a scam. As a leader, your team wants you to stay up to date but also exercise judgement about how to spend precious resources--like time and money. Look for technology that has easy UI, measureable and timely ROI, and a great implementation and support team. First and foremost, however, socialize the solution with your stakeholders to see if a fix is actually a priority. They will talk you off the cliff in a moment of doubt.
#2-Developing Your People May Mean they Join the Competition
Hiding under the desk to avoid your best employee turning in their resignation letter may seem like a perfectly useful tactic in the short-term. I have seen CEO's quiver in their tassled loafers and tailored flats when faced with the inevitability of a key contributor leaving the team. They all seem to have a quiet scream behind the facade...Why didn't I see that coming? How will we manage without them? Who will fill their shoes? Worst of all...How dare they do that to me/us after all I've invested in them?
Get in front of your fears. Know that you are growing your company and grooming your people to take over for you some day. All of your managers should be hiring people to step in to their shoes with the proper development. Business is not family (for the purposes of this article) nor should you expect employees to stay with you if it stumps their growth or ambitions.
With frank discussions about goal setting, satisfaction levels and career development, we can try to identify exits before they happen and be better prepared. In other words, spread responsibility, trust everyone until they give you a reason not to, and for the love of Candy Corn...solve your SPOFs before they bite you! (Single Points of Failure).
The threat is real and can be fatal to a business. If you want to read some very scary stories, you don't need to look very far. Everyday, business lose billions to judgements and settlements dealing with everything from Intellectual Property to Employee Harassment.
The trick here is to listen to the experts and get professional advice before you have a problem facing you down. So much of what lands companies in court is avoidable with proper planning, policy and practice. Never before is that more true when it comes to your People & Culture.
You don't need to be afraid this Halloween.
Remember why you started with your company in the first place. Inspiration is the opposite of fear-mongering.
Whether you are running towards technology, wary of your employees, or mistrustful of the players, you may want to analyze the root cause of your fears and get in front of the nightmares that lurk. Dawn is just around the corner.