Wrongs And Rights: Holding Up A Mirror To Our Business To Find The Weaknesses

***Contributed Post***

When we are working at a side hustle or small business, it can take some time for us to find our feet. This is why we’ve got to find out what is wrong as soon as possible. Sometimes the problem is obvious, maybe there are financial issues, but if we limp along, oblivious to the real problems, it’s these things that can threaten to derail our process and stop us running our business effectively. This is why we’ve got to get into the habit of identifying our weaknesses. With this in mind, are there any ways for us to identify what is wrong before everybody else points it out to us? 

Identifying Superficial Weaknesses

If we have an issue with some small aspect that we know is an eyesore, such as the website, but we feel there are more important problems that need fixing right now, we can easily forget to go back to the superficial weaknesses and carry on regardless. But we have to remember that with the superficial weaknesses, this links indelibly into our overall perception. Not just from the public, but from the clients as well. It’s important that you make the most of identifying these weaknesses, because if you were the customer and you saw the website in a poor state would you ever think about going back there? Of course, you wouldn’t! But as a quick solution to this problem, there are so many resources out there that can help. From website redesign businesses to numerous marketing agencies that can give your promotional materials a makeover. The quicker you get these superficial issues fixed, the easier it is for you to focus on the things that really matter. 

Drilling Down Into The Problem

The SWOT analysis works very well at identifying your weaknesses, as well as your strengths, opportunities and threats (see the video at the end for more information). But focusing on the weaknesses here is about identifying what the issue is on the surface and then drilling down into the problems so you can make the fundamental fixes. As the weakness is perceived on one level to be in relation to a process failure or a cultural issue within the business, the sooner you find these problems, the quicker you can make these fixes. But, to get to this point you have to look for honest and earnest feedback. This is where constructive criticism can hurt, but it can result in a better and unified company overall. 

Is It Your Fault?

When we turn the mirror on to our business, we are turning the mirror onto ourselves. Sometimes the problems can be difficult to find because we’re not identifying the real issue behind the whole thing. If we are at fault either due to our working practices, management style, or we are ignoring the key problems, this has to be rectified. Those entrepreneurs that think they do nothing wrong, or those people that are addicted to the feeling of power, they are ultimately going to underwhelm themselves and their business, because they’re not treating their employees right. You could argue this is the first port of call because if we can learn how to identify the components we fail at, we can apply this technique to the rest of the business.


Diagnosing The Cause Of Team Friction

***Contributed Post***

If you’re sensing friction in the team, it’s good to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. The longer a mood or trend is allowed to stay in the workplace, the more chance it has of becoming the new status quo and part of your company culture. Here, we’re going to look at some of the three issues that can lead to team friction and, in most cases, they are caused directly or indirectly by errors in leadership.

Getting responsibility and accountability wrong

A manager or leader who is quick to point the finger or pass the buck creates a team that is very likely to do the same. By not accepting responsibility for the failures of the team, you make responsibility something to be feared. If you create an environment where people feel safer to admit to their mistakes, they will allow themselves to be held accountable, allowing you to address the real causes of failure. Otherwise, team members are more likely to turn on one another in the hopes they don’t get caught in the crosshairs. 

You need to rethink your hiring

When you’re hiring the team, creating an accurate job description and finding those with the skills and qualifications to fill the role will naturally take top priority. However, it shouldn’t be the only priority. When coming into a job, candidates should also recognize what kind of team they will be joining, how much work will be done alone or with others, and so on. Quality of hire is about ensuring they’re a good cultural fit, likely to be engaged with their work, and understand the company goals and how they will be contributing to them. By making it clearer what you’re looking for beyond the actual work done within the role, you can find those applicants who belong on your team. 

They need better management

Autonomy can afford your employees a great deal of freedom over how they do their work, allowing them to find the most productive ways to do it. However, too much freedom and they may instead lack direction or feel like you simply don’t care about the work they do or the role they play in the team. As such, they will be less engaged and less motivated, which affect the rest of the team like ripples across a pond. Learning how to manage employees effectively, by communicating with them more often, delegating work effectively to those best suited to handle it, and providing an example for them to follow can have a powerful positive effect on the culture in the workplace. 

The sooner you identify the issues leading to friction amongst the team, the sooner you can start stamping them out. Whether it’s adopting a new policy of ensuring commitment and responsibility, giving your hiring practices the time that they need, or learning how to better manage, the most effective changes from the top down. Outside of purely personal issues amongst co-workers, these are the most likely issues to erode team cohesion.