Seeing a lot of fumbles at your business? Are the fumbles creating friction among your employees? In short, should things be running smoother?

When things are not going well, it’s time to step away from all the silly MBA jargon and return to common sense. It’s ridiculous to even utter the words “supply chain” if you can’t get orders out the door in a timely manner. It’s absurd to turn to 6-Sigma when everything seems to be unraveling. Don’t go near “continuous improvement” or “total quality management” or “lean” or any of that night school nonsense if your business can’t execute.

Why? Because if you can’t get an order out the door without major problems, you certainly are not capable of running an insanely report intense 6-Sigma program. And, if you’ve got employee cooperation issues, you need to build a cooperation chain before you even utter the words “supply chain”.

Where do you start?

If you’re serious about improving your business, I mean really serious, start by banning all trendy business acronyms and terms. That’s right. No one is allowed to utter the words “Continuous Improvement” or “Supply Chain”. Those words should be forbidden. Add “Metrics” to the list. Permit talk ONLY about specific solutions.

Why? Because people hide behind those terms. They serve as cover for screw-ups. The problem at most businesses is not process control or slippage in the supply chain. The problem is with people. People who are not willing or able to cooperate with each other to reach common goals—like getting an order out the door.

When you hear things like, “if we could just get our ‘lean’ program working, things would improve.”  Nonsense.

If people can’t problem solve and cooperate, no silly program-of-the-month will fix things.

You may have to face the reality that some people may have to go. If cooperation cannot be achieved, all good coaches know they have to change players. They might even release good players. A super star who won’t play as part of a team will do more harm than good.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
[email protected]