Where are the blockages in your business?

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

If you’re similar to the many business owners with which I work, you strive to keep your operation running as efficiently, smoothly and with as few interruptions to the flow of business as possible. As you do, there are a number of key variables to keep in mind as you endeavor to prevent or remove any blockages that limit your happiness and success as an entrepreneur.

Different bottlenecks or barriers to business success create blockages that come in many forms: ineffective systems and procedures; poor affiliate, vendor and customer relationships; team members who lack the skills and behaviors necessary to communicate effectively; and team members whose lack of desire and positive attitude prevent them from performing at consistently high levels. These are just a few of the common blockages I work with owners to identify and eliminate to drive business performance and success.

Are you aware of the internal variables that could be limiting your operations? If the answer is yes, then you’ve positioned yourself to take the critical next step of understanding what they are, where and why they exist and how much they’re costing you in real terms. If you’re not mindful of your company’s blockages, your lack of awareness will prevent you from addressing them at all. Is this really a viable option if you want your business to stand out in the marketplace?

To make more sense of how to identify and eliminate potential blockages that prevent optimal performance and success, let’s look at a few common culprits:

Communication: Ineffective communication is a primary, and often leading, barrier at many businesses. Effective communication that accurately conveys information, images, feelings and desires so all parties are on a similar, if not the same, page must be highly valued and strongly encouraged. Clear and specific communication allows people and systems to work together seamlessly for superior results.

Talents and skills: All members of a professional working team require the basic skills required to perform their jobs. If not, they’ll only take away from the smooth and efficient operations of the business. While a person lacking the necessary skills to do the job potentially could constitute a good hire, they must compensate with a strong desire to learn and grow. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time, effort and money to bring them on.

Attitude: While skills can be taught to individuals who want to learn, attitude is a different beast all together. Although many are hired for their talents, it is their attitudes and resulting behaviors that determine in the long run if they’re a blockage in your business. Team members might be qualified to perform jobs at a high level. But, if they bring a consistently negative attitude to the workplace, their performance will be poor and, invariably, disrupt your operations in more ways than one. Negativity and bad attitudes are like a deadly virus you can’t allow to spread throughout your company.

Desire: A lack of desire means team members won’t care enough to deliver superior job performance. When people don’t care, they also lack commitment and loyalty and are often less efficient and productive. These team members will consistently produce poor quality products and services, resulting in dissatisfied customers. Just one team member can negatively affect the overall positive efforts of an entire team. They have a dampening effect on team moral and hurt the work environment. When an owner or manager tolerates this attitude, they lose credibility with the rest of the team.

Think of blockages within your business in terms of an artery around your heart blocked with fatty deposits. It’s clear these blockages must be identified, addressed in a timely manner and cleared.

Inaction in addressing the blockages to the flow of your business will only compound the situations curtailing your company’s overall performance.

I’ll explore in my next column the options for clearing these barriers. Until then, see what blockages to the smooth and efficient flow of your business operations you can discover. Write them down and then focus on eliminating them for good.