Don’t Let Your Business Become Dysfunctional

March 25, 2020

Businesses similar to some families can become dysfunctional especially trying to endure the effects of a global crisis as we are in today. While a dysfunctional business can be improved, owners and managers must first recognize the signs of a dysfunctional business and acknowledge its existence. Without first conceding the fact that this might be the case, then no remedies can really take place.

Be aware of these dysfunctional red flags and make sure they are not present in your business.

Lack of Leadership – It all starts at the top and permeates downward throughout a business organization. This means that if leadership at the top is good, then every layer on the organizational chart below the top will recognize the importance of good leadership and imitate positive traits. Conversely, if leadership at the top is weak or in some cases non-existent, then lower management will also imitate those traits contributing to organizational inefficiency. Everyone in a company recognizes top management leadership strengths and weaknesses. Now is the time for owners and managers of any size business to demonstrate strong leadership.

Little or No Training – Hoping for business success is the mantra for many dysfunctional businesses. Hoping, however, is not a recipe for success. Employees cannot simply be hired, placed into a specific job, and hope they success with little or no training. During a business slowdown and when so much can be accomplished remotely, this is an opportune time to ramp up employee training, review processes and procedures, revise training manuals, etc. 

Lack of Communication - Again, it all starts at the top, so when the “top” doesn’t communicate with the next level down, none of the important information gets filtered to the bottom. Employees don’t want to guess and speculate about the company, its future, and their future. Communication is especially important when times are tough, employees are worried about paychecks and job stability, and camaraderie is lost if working from home.

Although emails are a quick, easy, and efficient form of communication, operations become inefficient when questions and requests are ignored. Rather than hitting the “reply” button, which is fast and simple, disregarding answering an email or other form of communication adds to business dysfunction.

Non-Existent Teamwork – When no teamwork exists, employees tend to find themselves isolated and, eventually, thinking only about themselves. They’re not interested in helping colleagues and don't expect to get help in return. The phrase, "It's not my job," is heard often. One for all and all for one is definitely not a guiding principle for a dysfunctional business. When many businesses are short-handed or having employees work remotely until business gets back to normal, it’s especially important for all employees to pitch in, help co-workers, and be a team player as much as possible. If the business prospers, employees then have job stability.

Look at All the Signs

Dysfunction in a business can negate all the positive things a business might do in the way of planning, customer service, target marketing, quality controls, etc. Business dysfunction can certainly not prevail during times of turmoil. Profit and success can easily be eroded. Look at your business. If you see potential dysfunctional red flags, take corrective action now rather than later to remedy those deficiencies. When business turns around, you want your business to still be in existence.

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