By Ken Keller SCVBJ Contributor We’re experiencing a booming economy, yet every company has obstacles, roadblocks and chokepoints standing in the way of even faster growth. I’m of the belief that every business can do better; here are 12 areas where a company might make slight changes and see dramatic improvements in a short period of time. Wrong people Every company has someone who is not working as hard as he or she can, or is working at cross purposes with others or is simply not doing the job they were hired to do. These individuals can be found at any level of the company. Managers are not immune and neither are owners. If people are not working as hard as they should be, there is a motivation problem. If someone is working at cross purposes with others, there is lack of alignment and clarity of goals. If an individual is not doing the job they were hired to do, either they don’t know how, have the incorrect priorities or they have too much on their plate. There is also the issue of those individuals that the company has outgrown. There may not be a place in the company going forward and these decisions while tough to make, are necessary for both the individual and the company’s futures. Clutter and mess Nothing impedes performance like messy desks, stacks of paper and files and miscellaneous “stuff” in an office, warehouse or production facility. Make the concept of spring cleaning a year round activity in your company. Lack of processes, procedures and systems The companies that grow faster than their competition do so because they have enough systems in place to grow the business without killing innovation. Disorganization eats time, money and people. And, just because something is working do not assume it can’t be improved. Winning undefined Often employees in companies work towards something that is not clear; not prioritized and not aligned. What is winning in your company? Does everyone know what it that means and what they are expected to do to contribute to the effort? Nonexistent performance evaluations When a supervisor says, “You’re doing OK” to a subordinate, the comment does not replace a formal, written performance evaluation. An evaluation is a process and activity where each employee has mutually agreed upon goals, goals, is coached and is expected to achieve specific results. If you desire to boost performance, make the investment required in time and thought for scheduled, written evaluations of every employee. Poor financial reporting When key documents relating to the financial health of the company are late, inaccurate or nonexistent, it is pretty hard to run a business. Make this a priority to address. Lack of internal alignment When individuals and departments work at cross purposes, with objectives that are not in congruence, performance suffers. Simply having each department have written goals that are shared across the company will help solve that inhibitor. No prospecting system If everything begins with a sale, every sale begins by identifying a prospect. Eliminating the “wait and see” approach and replacing it with a proactive, outgoing marketing program to efficiently identify and qualify prospects will save valuable resources and increase the opportunity for making the company money. Less than ideal clients Many companies do business with clients that they should not. These clients want more resources than can profitably be provided, yet the company often cannot identify those customers that are not worth doing business with. Take the time to define who your company should be doing business with and why; that clarity alone will improve profits. No sergeants Every successful company has “sergeants,” individuals who preserve the values of the company, communicate and enforce policies and procedures, and most important, get things done. No celebrations of success Performance is enhanced when companies take time to celebrate the things that they have done right. Without these pleasant interruptions, people become disengaged and wonder why they should work so hard. Concentrated decision making Higher performing organizations push decision making to the lowest possible level. When all the decisions are made by a single individual, the entire organization suffers because of the chokehold on getting things done. This is a broad list of issues to address; my recommendation is to pick the easiest one for your company and work on getting it fixed, then move on to the next easiest and so on. Building the momentum of winning will bring followers and growth. Ken Keller is an executive coach who works with small and midsize B2B company owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs. He facilitates formal top executive peer groups for business expansion, including revenue growth, improved internal efficiencies and greater profitability. Email: [email protected] Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of the SCVBJ.