When Your Company Starts Running Out Of Popcorn

What are you going to do? 

Companies, like people, get tired. I have seen companies just lose their focus, their “raison d’etre” and just well, kind of fade away.

More than once have I sat in the office of a company owner trying to console him while he asks me to “get him out of there.” Owners just get tired of the daily grind. They start to want off the treadmill, constantly juggling people, strategies, customers and cash flow.

After some twenty, thirty or even forty years they have had enough and just want to go home. Sometimes they mean it. They are truly tired as in sick and tired and they have literally nothing left in the tank.

But at other times they have just temporarily hit a wall. All they need is a bit of encouragement. Everything from a word here, an idea there or even a few days to bask in the sun somewhere and take a break from all of that thinking and worrying.

More often than not I have seen owners come back after a vacation raring to get back into the fray. They come back full of new energy ready to make another go at it and ready to take their company to the next level.

All she needed was a little break; all he wanted was a different perspective, maybe from a few miles away to realize that things are not so bad, things are not so overwhelming and there is hope and most importantly passion to enter that next chapter.

I say most of the time because that is often what it really is. In all my years of consulting and all of the companies I have worked with, there were actually two instances where the owners really meant it when they asked me for help to exit stage left!

Most of the time we sit together and talk, or we go for a walk around the block or out to dinner and we talk it out and we find a way to continue together.

The important thing is to create an aura of hope, and a true picture of the future and what it can hold for the owner and her company…and then a true and clear path towards that future.

Here are some of the tools that I use when it is time to create that hopeful pact towards the future:

Reignite Purpose: Why are we here in the first place? What was the impetus of starting our company to begin with? Get back to the core reason the company exists. Remind everyone of the mission, vision, and values that originally inspired its creation. Go back to the company’s roots and capture some of the original feeling and passion from the start.

Face the Facts: Openly acknowledge the current state of affairs. Share the challenges and opportunities ahead without sugarcoating. This creates a sense of urgency and shared responsibility. If your company is on “fire” then get everyone working together to put that fire out.

Re-energize the team: Empower employees at all levels to take ownership of their work and contribute ideas for improvement. Encourage autonomy and creativity in problem-solving. Inspire them the future and show them the way to move forward to that successful future.

Customer Immersion: Immerse the entire organization in the customer experience. Spend time with customers, listen to their feedback, and let their needs guide decisions and innovations.

Talent Surge: Invest in attracting and retaining top talent. Identify individuals who embody the company’s values and bring fresh perspectives to the table. Everyone on your team has a special talent. It is your responsibility to find, nourish and cultivate that talent.

Innovation Jams: Host brainstorming sessions or innovation challenges to generate new ideas and solutions. Encourage cross-functional collaboration and experimentation.

Celebrate Mavericks: Recognize and celebrate individuals who challenge the status quo and drive positive change. Encourage a culture that embraces calculated risks and learning from failure. Yes, risks. Create a circle of trust that allows your team members to swing for the fences and most of all allow them to make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes you are not doing enough.

Ruthless Simplification: Streamline processes, eliminate bureaucracy, and focus on what truly matters. Simplify communication channels and decision-making to increase agility. Clear the cobwebs that slow down your growth and your drive to the ultimate goal line.

Extreme Customer Service: Go above and beyond to delight customers at every touchpoint. Turn customer interactions into memorable experiences that foster loyalty and advocacy. Nothing gets people motivated like helping other people. Great customer service creates a sense of gratitude in your customers to the point where these people are your company’s greatest ambassadors and advocates.

Continuous Learning: Foster a culture of continuous learning and development. Provide opportunities for employees to expand their skills, stay updated on industry trends, and grow personally and professionally.

The great bonus when you do these things is that the journey is often the solution. Just doing something, sometimes anything positive, will promote more positive action and momentum that will set, in driving your company to success. It’s only common sense.