Tactical fire-fighting has become the #1 priority of your small to midsize business.
Tactical fire-fighting is exhilarating and energizing! You and your team roll up your sleeves each day to tackle issues compromising your deliverables from arriving on-time, as promised, at the price point quoted.
That’s what your staff was hired to do. That’s how you run a business, right?
Take a step back from the daily dynamics of your small to midsize business. If each day is dominated by tactical fire-fighting, you may have become addicted to these activities as your “norm.”
The frantic, all-hands-on-deck pace recreates that sense of urgency, thinking on your toes, reacting to obstacles in your path which were front and center when you started your company. Your business has grown. Yet it is stuck at a certain critical mass of customers.
You experience difficulty managing expansion. Your revenue stream is unpredictable. Your business model is based on preserving a corporate culture focused on tactical fire-fighting.
You have perpetuated a need for drama. It’s not healthy. It’s not profitable. Tactical fire-fighting is not sustainable.
One custom fabricating company had an opportunity to grow from $2M to $5M and potentially to $10M within the seven years we worked together. They had a small staff; everyone wore multiple hats. The C-Suite marketed, sold, administrated and loved to roll up their sleeves and get on the line to assemble, finish and ship. Their manufacturer’s reps had inconsistent track records and lengthy sales cycles, yet were retained. Over time, they had become personal friends with the C-Suite.
It became difficult for that C-Suite to separate the professional face of the business from the personal one. When the CEO becomes involved in every employee’s personal stuff, strategic perspective is lost. Personal crises are viewed through the same filter as quality shortfalls in delivered raw materials.
While it’s nice to feel that your small business is one big happy family, employees begin to view the C-Suite as their peers rather than their leaders. Some employees feel empowered to make executive decisions on behalf of the company, with customers and suppliers. They become a liability.
Is this the business case inside your own house?
When your business model is focused on tactical fire-fighting, you and your staff become short-sighted. You are impeded from being proactive about marketplace, industry vertical and economic trends. Your myopia impacts your ability to develop strategic business.
In order to create a stable, sustainable and healthy organization, pivot your focus. Reduce and eliminate your co-dependence on tactical fire-fighting as your, and your employee’s, #1 priority. Isn’t it time to lead a stable, sustainable and healthy organization?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a professional development coach and management consultant. Her Workshops result in Playbooks for startups and small to mid-size companies who want to grow, expand and sustain their businesses, but are wrestling with unpredictable revenue streams. Then she brings these Playbooks to life in their organizations. Her Playbook on leadership, business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.