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The Four Current Challenges Holding Back Organizations from High Business Performance

By Rick Van Natta

There are four elements that are holding back organizations from achieving high business performance, and those four issues that I think need to be explored always, are the basics; focus, communication, leadership, and accountability. I think that without addressing all these issues individually, and then again as a group, businesses have no ability to actually achieve high performance.

Tim Deuitch: 00:01  I'd love to speak to focus for us because it's very fresh on my mind. I work with a lot of clients on their strategic focus and executing on their plans, and all the ingredients they're in, the right structure, the right job descriptions, and so forth. But, as soon as I ask them, what will you remove from the current in order to bring these new things to life? Crickets. I think what managers show me and leaders show me time and time again, is they spend most of their time thinking about what else "we need to do", as opposed to helping their organization removed the type of things that might hold them back. So, much easier said than done, but the focus piece absolutely resonates with me.

Rick Van Natta: 01:29  Absolutely. You have to know what you're going to have to drop in order to continue moving forward.

Holly Parks: 01:35  I think that's really very difficult for organizations is to say "I'm going to drop working with specific clients because they don't fit what we want to do." But the idea of losing that revenue, "Oh No."

Rick Van Natta: 01:49  Chasing numbers.

Andrea McOwen: 01:56  Once you have that focus, what's really important is communication, and getting that message out, and doing it very clearly and succinctly. Today in the business world, we don't have very many face-to-face conversations anymore. We instant message, we text, we send emails, and the problem with that is when you communicate that way, really only about 10 percent of your message is really getting through because what you're missing is the really key pieces, which is your intent, your tone. So, face-to-face conversations is the only thing that's really going to get the full communication out. I have a good example of that. I recently received an email from somebody, who in the email, put certain words in all caps, and when I read it, my reaction was, "Oh, this person is really upset." So, I picked up the phone, conversation and said, "I get that you're really upset, but I'm not sure I understand why. Help me understand that. And she said, "Oh, I'm not upset," and I said, "Well, it's the capital words." She said, "Oh, I was just trying to emphasize those words." So again, I couldn't hear her tone, I couldn't see her face, I had no idea what her intent was. So, my reception of that email was completely off. So having face-to-face conversations is really, really key.

Rick Van Natta: 03:11  That's really true and I think that the leadership aspect of this, understanding, the focus that you mentioned, understanding resource allocation, time management, things like that, communication also ties in with people being able to understand and stay focused on what the strategy is. Being able to understand what it is that's expected of me and what I need to do to deliver that. That kind of ties in, I think, a little bit with accountability.

Holly Parks: 03:44  Yes, accountability is one of those things that can spread through an organization like a virus. If people aren't being accountable for what they say they're going to do, then others see that, and they pick up on, "Well, I don't have to be either." Vice versa. If people are doing what they say they're going to be doing, others feel the responsibility to do the same, so taking ownership of, "I'm going to do, what I said I'm going to do," and not pointing fingers at anyone else and saying, "You, you're the reason I'm not doing what I should be doing."

Tim Deuitch: 04:17  We watch for the things that sort of betray us in this because we're not just looking for buy-in, which is a really fancy word these days. We're looking for actual action of accountability.

Andrea McOwen: 04:17  I do see people fall into the trap of blame, and if you feel like you can't get something done, you feel like you need to let other people know the reason you couldn't get it done, is because so and so didn't do this, and that just spreads like a weed. That's the blame game.

Holly Parks: 04:50  It's so prevalent today. Not just in the workplace, but just in the world. It's always someone else's fault, and that really stifles an organization's ability to prosper.

Rick Van Natta: 05:00  Organizations spend a lot of time and money trying to develop the top end, high tech skills for the workplace, and the reality is, for them to achieve performance, these are four elements in a chain that all have to be hooked together. You have to have the focus. You have to have proper communication, leadership, and accountability. If any one of these is missing, the skill sets missing there, you have a broken chain, and there's no way for the organization to achieve high performance.

Best of luck and let me know how I can help you achieve more effective training!

Published: June 22, 2018


Rick Van Natta

Senior Consultant

Rick brings over 35 years experience in training and people performance. He has a “real-world, down to earth” approach to facilitation and coaching founded on his background in retail sales, specialty chemicals, marine drilling, and nuclear power plant operations having held positions ranging from Sales Representative through Director levels across the sales and operations functions in businesses. Rick also served in the US Navy nuclear power program retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer after 25 years where he was a certified Nuclear Instructor. He holds graduate degrees and certificates in Engineering, Environmental, and Human Resources Management, Business Administration, Lean Six Sigma, and Project Management.

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