Organizational Laziness

organizational lazinessSometimes organizations get lazy. This happens when they have long periods of success and start to take it for granted. They assume that the customers and money will just keep coming in and they stop doing the things that got them to that point in the first place.

How does this show-up? It shows up in the most basic of ways. Not bothering to have an annual goal or strategic planning is usually the first step towards decline. If you don’t plan, things have a way of taking over that you never intended. Threats and weaknesses become more pronounced and opportunities and strengths go unnoticed. This becomes possible because the organization is financially sound so there is no real impetus to do anything differently.

The next way this shows up is in the “culture” or values no longer being emphasized and reinforced.This leads to an unintentional culture that doesn’t look at all like the organization first intended. This stems from a leader who is out of touch with what’s going and has no real understanding of what the employees are thinking or doing, let alone what the customers are saying. The values being lived change almost overnight when this happens. The challenge is that it takes longer to show up as a problem in sales and retention or recruitment of good employees.

Eventually, of course, it does show up in flat or declining sales revenue. This, in turn, leads to a loss of net revenue. At which point the leadership usually gets involved, most often in panic mode, and everyone starts wondering if the sky is falling. It’s not, but there is a serious crack in the foundational culture of the organization because collectively everyone has become lazy.

Profit hides a multitude of sins inside an organizationally lazy company. Lack of planning, lack of reinforcement of values through organizational structures, no employee development training programs, no reward programs and lack of leadership to even ask the questions. When the money is flowing in, no one looks too closely at the basics because money fixes, but also hides, a lot of problems.

It’s only when the money starts drying up that questions start to be asked, sometimes too late. In order to avoid this scenario, the first step is to have sound, basic business structures in place. Annual planning, goal setting, and reinforcement of the values and culture of the organization. These will be the early warning signs of shifts in the market, shifts internally or things that need tending, while the money is still flowing. The better the revenue and profits, the longer the company can go without looking at the roots.

Don’t wait until there is a crisis to do a health check on your organization. Have you become a little too “lazy” in some areas? No time like the present to get things back on track so that when a downturn or drop in revenues does come, (and it always does), you will be ready to weather the storm.