Hey, great job starting that new business of yours! And you’ve survived for a few years, and your revenue is growing! And hey, is that hockey-stick revenue? You’ve made it! There couldn’t possibly be any business mismanagement going on here, could there?
You know the punchline.
For the last little while, your friendly neighborhood Answer Guy has been out of commission, serving full-time as the de facto Chief Operating Officer for a small Pharmaceuticals company. It was a fun gig. I was paid well, met some great people, and straightened out a lot of things that were getting too curly.
But after a little while, it became painfully obvious that I was there to clean up one latent business mismanagement issue. No biggee; that’s what I do. But there was a problem; the issue was the CEO.
Don’t get me wrong; this woman is brilliant. And lovely, personally. Her people all adore her—despite having no idea what their jobs are, nor the tools to get what their job descriptions say they are, accomplished.
I was brought aboard (and believe it or not she found me via Rent A Dad) to get this company to the next level. And I failed.
I failed because at a company that had been around for nine years and had finally achieved sales, revenue, and market relevance last year, the majority owner was as guilty of mismanagement as one can be.
She’s a control freak. That’s OK; control freaks run the world. So never mind that. She got where she got by being a control freak and isn’t ready to move on; I’ve seen that act hundreds of times. The problem, management-wise, is that after achieving that elusive hockey-stick sales growth, is that she expected it to continue.
Business Mismanagement Takes Many Forms
At this company, sales had multiplied by 1000% in 2018 and a similar jump in 2019 was actually reasonable. That said, the company needs its entire sales methodology overhauled, and I couldn’t get that point across.
And I was asked. Explicitly. But the question, framed as it was as “how do we make this 10x sales forecast happen?”, couldn’t resolve without a couple of large changes. And those changes were to systems the CEO had put in place—without understanding their flaws.
And without being willing to accept those flaws exist.
The hardest part of business change is that change thing. And when you create something and it needs an overhaul change becomes even harder. And why?
Because ego is a powerful thing. And when your ego gets in the way of necessary business change, you’re committing the worst possible type of business mismanagement.