Businesses face a myriad of external problems — demanding customers, unstable supply chains, shifting global financial markets and ever-tightening government red tape, to name a few. It’s no wonder that internal problems often get short shrift when it comes to attention from corporate leadership.
But internal problems, sometimes slow-moving and unnoticed until they’re too serious to fix, can sink a business. Whether it’s poor communications, labor issues, inefficient operations, shaky finances, weak leadership or other internal plagues, you need a solid plan to head off problems or stop them in their tracks. Here are three pieces of business advice that can help you handle any number of internal problems and quickly get back on track.
Schedule adequate time
You’re busy. Your staff members are busy. Still, it’s critical to schedule time each and every week to delve into the core issues confronting your company.
Face time with key members of your leadership team each week is vital for staying on top of internal problems and stopping them before they become major issues. Each of your team members should be prepared to review briefly what’s happening in their sphere of influence and to apprise the team of any potential problems.
Book this as a mandatory meeting, and make sure team members understand that it’s not optional. Don’t make excuses for skipping this meeting; it’s just as important as client and sales meetings.
Come to a resolution
Once leadership team members bring a problem to the surface, confront it head on. Work with the team to hash out solutions, and don’t let a problem slide until next week, which can quickly become next month or next year.
Ignoring issues only allows small problems to become big ones that are harder to fix and have the potential to cripple your team. If your weekly meeting uncovers an issue that’s too big for your team to manage, don’t hesitate to bring in outside consultants or other assistance.
Perform regular maintenance
Once you believe you’ve found a solution for a problem, don’t stop there. With regular “maintenance checkups,” you and your team will continue to learn from your own personal case studies. Learning helps you stay focused and continue moving forward.
In some cases, problems appear to be solved only to resurface unexpectedly down the road. Even when everything seems to be running smoothly, it’s critical to keep that weekly leadership team meeting. All participants should continue to report on their areas, with other team members weighing in with questions and advice. Colleagues with differing areas of expertise often can spot problems and suggest solutions effectively.
Every business experiences internal problems from time to time. Scheduling adequate time for discussion on a weekly basis, coming to a resolution and performing regular maintenance can help you keep those problems from becoming major issues.