What’s the oulook of your crop?
Is the direction of your business set by a surgeon? Fire him and get a farmer.
Anyone who has had a doctor explain a medical condition to them almost always follows up with the request for a plain English prognosis. It goes like this:
Doctor: “Sir, you are suffering from singultus but we can treat it.”
Patient: “What is that?”
Doctor: “You suffer from a state of having reflex spasms of the diaphragm accompanied by a rapid closure of the glottis producing an audible sound.”
Patient: “Will I be okay?”
Doctor: “It’s treatable with the proper regime and strict patient compliance.”
Patient: “Where do we start, Doc?”
Doctor: “I am going to start you with a slow intake of combined hydrogen and oxygen. TID until it clears up.”
Patient: “Give it to me straight Doc.”
Doctor: “You have the hiccups. Try drinking a glass of water slowly.”
When business isn’t going well, the last thing you need is jargon. Sometimes the answers are as simple as the glass of water from the story above. When sales are falling, you don’t need to improve your visibility, you need to improve your sales. The visibility problem is probably with managent’s vision rather than potential buyers being unable to see you. We live in the information age. I can find a guy in a remote village of Africal to discuss astronomy with. I can make friends with a guy in Iran to share telescope ideas. I wanted to find a Russian watch manufactuer and did. I’ve done them all. If you’ve got something worthwhile, the people who want it will find you.
If you want to improve your “visibility”, look around you’ll find plenty of things to fix right under your nose. You don’t need to “hit data points” unless you are in scientific research. You don’t need to work on your supply chain or look for ways to enhance stakeholder value. You don’t even need to think outside of the box until you can think straight inside the damn box. And for god’s sake, fire anyone who wants to “improve processes”. The process improvers haven’t a clue about how to build a business. The answer to every problem at your business relates to people, not processes. You rarely have a process problem, you have a people problem. Good people will continually fix and improve processes without fanfare. The guy who wants to measure processes is covering his inability to manage people with a blanket of graphs and properly spun reports. Repeat. Fire him before he seriously damages morale.
A business in trouble needs a farmer, not a doctor. Farmers work the land available to them with the tools they have. A farmer’s goal is always to achieve maximum yield at the best price. Isn’t that what you want? The farmer tills and plants. Then he waters and tends his seedlings. Then he harvests. A farmer knows his land and his hands are his greatest assets. He has never heard of supply chain management.
I know when I hear a gush of business jargon that a business is in trouble. When the jargon becomes the focus, the very strategy for turn around, the business is not likely to do well.
Need for “more time” is another camouflage of incompetence. It takes time for a big business to change direction! No, it doesn’t. It takes resolve and courage. When customer service stinks, it can be fixed immediately. When quality control slips, it can be fixed in a day. A day.
Myth: It takes time to turn a big ship. No it doesn’t. A sharp turn may wash a little sea over your deck but it may also prevent your business ship from hitting the fatal iceberg.
Make people who use business jargon give a concrete example of what they are trying to express. At the very least it will make them actually think for a moment.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog