We are a world built on connections.
You are reading this article because all those connections are working, from the worldwide network of programmers who created the platform, plugins, and processes; to the hosting company; to the company that issues the emails and their network of programmers and processing mechanisms.
Here you are, reading something that is the culmination of efforts of hundreds or even thousands of people.
But what happens when one of those connections fails?
Depending on the product or service and its reach and criticality, the connection fail could range anywhere from minor inconvenience to major catastrophe.
Beyond technology, there are human connections where the same principle applies. When the connection breaks, there are inevitable consequences. Teams don’t communicate. Processes do not flow. Customers are not served. And products and services are not delivered.
Like the timing chain on a vehicle, a break at best will shut down the engine; but it could also damage pistons, valves, cylinders, and the engine itself. Failure to replace a $100 to $300 part could potentially cost thousands of dollars in repairs.
John C. Maxwell says it well, “The strength of the team is impacted by its weakest link.”
As a leader, you have two choices. You can ignore a weak link and take your chances on when it will break (because it will break under pressure); or you can take quick action to prevent it. You can proactively maintain or reactively remediate. And if you have been in business for any length of time, you know that remediation is costly, inconvenient, and time-consuming.
Consider Your Connections
Take time to consider the links in the chain of your business. You can assess the organization at the level of, “Everything is running fine.” Or you can dig in and proactively identify the weak links before they become major issues.
Good leaders look beyond the surface.
Here is a quick three-point business inspection you can conduct regularly to keep your business strong.
Is each person in your organization working in their strengths to bring the best of themselves to work on each initiative?
There are some valuable tools available to help you, as a leader, identify the strengths of each person. These tools will also help identify potential weaknesses, which are just as important. If your team is working in their strengths, your organization will be strong. If you have even one team member working outside their strengths zone, you have a point of weakness in the chain – a potential disaster in the making.
How does your team interact with the customers of your company? Do they complain in front of customers about their job, the company, or you? Or do they treat the customer as you would? Does your team look at their work as a “job” or as a way to serve a customer well? There is a difference, and your customers will know it.
There are some high potential companies formed every day. But within five years, most companies fail.
Why is this?
Very often, it is a planning failure. They failed to plan for growth, maintenance, and regulatory issues. Review your business regularly for weak links in planning. As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Are your products and services relevant to your customer base? Innovation is a key link in the chain of business. Do you have creative minds on your team? Do you have a sales team who listens to the needs of your people and reports back to you? And more importantly, do you listen when they do?
Yes, there is a need for policies and systems that are solid and change very little. They are foundational. But if you don’t build innovation on that foundation, your business could die from the lack of it.
Take time regularly to conduct this simple three-point business inspection. You’ll be glad you did!
For more resources on how to create and lead a strengths-based team, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.