Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut in your business? Or do you feel like things have gotten a little boring, complacent, or slow? Maybe, the growth you used to find easy is not so easy any more?
If you have had your company for a while or have worked at mature company for a number of years, you have no doubt had the these times. You may be going through one right now. If so, this article is for you.
Businesses go through cycles and in those cycles are peaks and valleys, especially as they mature and grow larger.
One of the things I have noticed as companies mature is that many settle into accepting slower growth and sales. The mantra becomes, "That's just the way it is. The old days are over." Far from it.
After being part of organizations with this problem and coaching others out of it over many years, I have found that one thing that is constant when companies hit these valleys. It comes down to this:
When companies have the most trouble is usually when the senior people, the people that built the organization and got them there, stop taking time to learn, listen, and spend time with those in the trenches on a daily basis.
You can understand why this is an issue. If you don't know what is happening on the ground, how can you really make decisions for an organization or with regards to clients? I was once working with a group of senior leaders who were making decisions for a world-wide salesforce of which none had been in the field in years. They were relying on surveys to make their decisions!
Surveys are nice, but they certainly don't give you the full picture. The decisions being made not only affected clients, but also cut commissions to their salesforce - and they hadn't consultant with anyone working the day to day in the trenches. Not the sales reps, not even the front line sales managers. Bad move.
If this group had moved forward with their plan, they would have not only hurt their product and brand with their clients, but greatly disincentivized their salesforce. That would have led to less sales, profits, and the loss of some great talent.
Thankfully, we worked through it and had the group members take some time and get back in the field and trenches with the people doing the work on a daily basis and listening to clients first hand. As you can probably predict, there were some amazing insights that they gained. They ended up reworking everything and not only giving the clients what they really wanted (which was different than what their surveys said), but also created some great incentives for the salesforce that energized them and helped them to further succeed.
Whether you are a large or small business, in leadership, or consult for companies, always remember that the further you get away from the trenches, the harder it is to make decisions that really work well. You have to have the feedback loop of real world information on what is truly happening directly from those doing it. The better you get at that, the faster you will boost your success and the faster you can reach the next peak in your business.