The Seven Bad Habits of Highly Ineffective Organizations

Now that the stock market has turned around and the economy is on the mend, it is a good time to reflect upon some of the bad habits that we developed during previous recoveries.

  1. Imagine that you will be first in line. Think for a moment, if you had a small business and saw the economy recovering, where would you invest your money? You would probably invest your dwindling bankroll in creating new products and hiring more commissioned sales people. You might spend limited funds on training those new sales people. It will be a long winter before you spend your hard-earned cash on a new hire training course or an updated leadership and management curriculum.
  2. Confuse activity with success. You think that you would have learned this by now. People buzzing around like chickens, bragging about how many hours they worked, and moaning about not having a life outside of the office is very passé. Some managers may initially be impressed, but the illusion of this activity creating more money for the organization quickly fades.
  3. Measure your success by butts in seats. Oh please! This is very similar to confusing activity with success. Who cares about how many training hours your organization delivered or how much it cost to put that physical or virtual butt in a seat. No one!
  4. Impress management with trendy buzzwords such as stakeholder value, organizational alignment, and human capital. Use words that people understand, don’t try to impress them with ambiguity. It doesn’t work.
  5. “Wow” executives with the newest technology. LMS data warehousing, portals, podcast, wikis, and even Web 2.0 will not help grow your organization. All of us have had enough wow and right now are looking for good Walmart value.
  6. Good business partners always agree. You must be talking about a battered housewife, not a partner. Good partners openly disagree. They discuss, listen, negotiate, and sometimes even argue. Get real! If agreement is the only value that you are adding to a meeting, nix it, eat a sandwich at your desk, and get some real work done.
  7. Store nuts away for the winter. When I had a few extra dollars in college, I bought canned goods. They made sure that I did not starve when times got tough. It was a good idea and worked then. However, our economy is still shaky and the goal is to make it to winter.