Fight the beta mistakes!

The alpha mistake is usually easily spotted. When you accept something you shouldn’t have people will notice. The issue comes when you have failed to accept something, or see something that you should have recognized. This is known as the beta mistake and there is in general little risk with it. Think about not hiring someone who would have been perfect for the job, or not embarking on a project that really should have been executed as it would have brought the company forward. If you hire the wrong person for a job, it will be obvious after a while. When you do a project that

Beta greek symbol on white display board. Science and mathematical concept

totally fails, it will be obvious after a while. When you fail to hire a person who would have excelled in the job, no one will notice, likewise if you fail to embark on this project that would have been wonderful for your department or business, no one will likely notice. There is little risk with inertia.

These things happen every day and institutional politics and inertia lead to a situation where there little risk anyone will notice the mistake and so great candidates don’t get hired, great advertising campaign never get started and super projects get rejected and no one will ever know if it would have made a difference.

People by their nature do not like change too much. With weak players holding on to the status quo and declining any action that could jeopardize their position, your company or department will in the longer run become stagnant, inert and passed by other departments and companies that did make the brave move and accepted the candidate with the not so obvious resume who turned out to be their next CEO or who embarked on that tricky project that brought them the technology that makes them market leader.

So how do you fight this behavior, how do you encourage your leaders and managers to take appropriate risk and move forward when there are so little consequences of doing nothing and risking nothing? Audits, peer- and sr. management- reviews can help spotting the situation and providing evidence that opportunities have been missed but that’s only after the fact.

Goal Clarity is again a way to a solution here. You need to ensure that your staff understands that you do not hire them to avoid failures but that you hire them to do the right and best things for the department or business. For this you need an environment of openness and trust, understanding and participation by all. Safe and responsible risk taking needs to be accepted and the occasional mishap as a result should not end someones career but instill respect that they have tried and were not afraid to try something in order to do the right thing and not just avoid making mistakes by staying on the beaten path.

 

 

Building a company is a bit like raising a family

Without being paternalistic, there is a similarity between raising your children and getting your employees to buy into your goals and philosophy and work with you in the way you want to run your company.

Like your children, your employees will all have their own personality and ambitions, behaviors and attitudes but to successfully form either a team or a family, you need some shared values that all buy into. If you can have your children buy into the fact their brains need enough rest to become successful, you won’t have to police the bedtime day to day. If you have them buy into what is right and wrong in this world, you won’t have to trace their internet behavior as much.

In a similar way you need to ensure that employees buy into the company’s goals values and culture.

Inspiration motivation quotation Success does not going to you, you go to it  and cup of coffee

Inspiration motivation quotation Success does not going to you, you go to it and cup of coffee

Not all buying into the company’s belief system and culture means that some won’t  cooperate as successful as you would like and you will have to correct, adjust, intervene and change the behavior before it causes confusion with the others. We are not talking about all employees drinking the proverbial “kool aid” but rather all employees understanding clearly what the goals of the company are and in what way you want to achieve them. Everyone is responsible for their part in making it happen and you can’t work with someone who either does not buy into it or is confused about it.

It starts with recruitment. Focus in your recruitment efforts on finding out if your prospects would be able to buy into your company’s culture. Yes you do want diversity of thought to take the opportunities provided by critical and creative thinking but you need to balance it with uprooting the basics of the organization.

Think of a clear example in a company that produces organic food. Yes the non organic food will be cheaper and easier to produce and market but that’s not who you are as a company and if you have employees not buying into putting in the extra efforts to produce and market organic food, you need to change them out for those that can fully support the companies philosophy.

If it is your company’s culture to look forward, share information and report mistakes as soon as possible to learn from it and correct it speedily, you can’t have some that won’t share information or point fingers to apportion blame. That is counter to what you try to achieve and they should either change their attitude or their career choice.

To create and maintain this strong company culture and keep the focus on the companies goals, you need to over communicate it. Not just the occasional newsletter or email but really connecting with people to inspire them to do the same with the groups they are responsible for. You will need to hold people accountable for the steps they take that are not in line with the company’s culture. These things do not have a direct correlation with commercial success. One of your key sales people may not have the right approach in how you want your clientele to know your company and so even if she or he is a great sales person, you may need to change them for someone who is equally capable but works in the way you want to run the company.

Building this accountability in from day one will serve your company well over the years and when executed well can survive scaling of the company to huge sizes.

Action: required and desired

To get anything going in your company, some action will be required.

Let’s kick some familiar open doors:

“There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” John F. Kennedy

So old but still so true

Also: “We judge ourselves by our intentions, others judge us by our actions”

So how do your create some action that will be successful and help you accomplish the goals? There are three main points to consider:

Understand where you are

It may now be known by my readers that I’m a stickler for Goal Clarity and understanding where you are means in this context, understanding thoroughly what the goals are and what should be done to accomplish them. Without that knowledge you won’t be able to develop any action.

Know your resources

Consider your network, your budget, your co-workers, employees and support services. Ensure you enlist whoever and whatever is possible to get support for your intended action. The first rule of management is “ask help when solving problems” so look around you to see and recognize the resources available. Great start-ups fail because they are underfunded or lack the proper resources to scale when the first wave of success rolls in. Don’t make that mistake but be prepared with all your resources.

Start!

Do something to start and let people know about it. Some teams take an inordinate amount of time planning the perfect action but alas when they get ready to take action the momentum is gone and their action, however powerful it was, has been sideline by a sub-optimal but quicker action of another team. Just get started. Take a small step, celebrate that you have started and move forward. Communicating your start is at the same time a good encouragement to continue. It is like going on a diet or stop smoking, if you share your intention you can count on your environment to “shame” you into continuing. Timing has a lot to do with creating an action that will be successful.