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7 signs your business story needs work

You’re in business. Things are going okay. But not as well as you’d like them to be. So how do you know if our story consulting services are worth investing time and money in?

  1. Your bottom line isn’t as healthy as you think it should be.
    Quite often, this is a direct result of your staff wasting time and money on irrelevancies and wasteful process. When things consistently take longer than you expect them to, deliver less than they should – this is a sign that there is a communication breakdown somewhere within your organisation.
  2. Your HR team is spending a lot of time dealing with conflict and morale issues in the workplace.
    It is not unusual for HR teams to find themselves bogged down in playing referee in disputes between employees, be they managers, coal-face workers, executives or administrative staff. This can also show up as conflicts and contention between teams. An organisation that is working towards a consistent set of goals that everyone is on board with, using an approach that has buy-in from all stakeholders are far less likely to have interpersonal issues spill over the threshold of professional politeness into the realm of outright hostility.
  3. You feel like you’re lurching from crisis to crisis.
    When you can never truly settle on a plan of action that will take you forwards because you’re always having to fix the next thing that has gone wrong without notice, this is a symptom of an organisation that lacks the coherence required to be able to plan ahead for all known contingencies.
  4. Your customers are consistently complaining.
    Customers and clients are as much a part of your story as the team within your business. A business with a strong, coherent and clearly understood story has clients that have clear expectations. Complaints are a sign that expectations are not being set effectively, and that delivery of the required outcomes is not meeting the expectations you’re setting. Understand that complaints are a result of assumptions not being met.
  5. You are often finding yourself in conflict with suppliers.
    Suppliers are just as important to you as customers. If you are not maintaining good relationships with suppliers, and they don’t understand your needs as a customer then this is a sign of a business whose narrative is not being delivered consistently. When suppliers deliver late, it is usually because they don’t understand the time constraints that you’re under. Whilst they may also have need of a changed perspective in their own story, I’ve seen plenty of supplier relationships break down because expectations weren’t clearly understood.
  6. Your business is under-performing its partners and competitors.
    When you are taking longer to deliver similar outcomes meeting the same quality bar as your partners and competitors, you have a problem with your story. “But that’s how we do things” is a tried and true myth that does not have to be tolerated. Change can happen quickly if everyone buys into the benefits. But doing that requires a coherent narrative that not only honours the roles within your organisation and their responsibilities, but also the people IN those roles. If you can’t say that’s happening, then you need someone who can take your strategy and turn it into a story that everyone can get aboard. Without the support and buy-in of your whole team – including investors, executives and customers – playing “catch-up” with your industry peers is simply impossible. All you can do is fall further behind.
  7. Your staff tell you that they are not getting opportunities for professional growth.
    This is an increasingly common issue for many businesses. Going back to our mantra of “Character + Context + Conflict + Choice = Consequences” it is important to remember that people are characters and they all have a context that is more than just the job you have given them, and the duties they’ve been assigned. We live in an aspirational society in which everyone wants to strive for more than what they have. When people feel like their skills, advancement and opportunities to shine have stagnated to the point of stand-still, their resistance to taking on a new narrative increases. Bringing them along on a journey of organisational improvement requires that you understand that there will often be a conflict between the external narrative that you are driving, and the internal narratives of individual employees.Generally speaking, the cost of giving employees the opportunity to expand their professional horizons is well and truly made up for by the improvements in productivity that arise in response. Not only are you giving an expanded toolbox with which to tackle more complex issues, but you are also honouring their internal narrative. More importantly, employees to whom you give opportunities for advancement and training will be far less likely to move “sideways” into a role that will give them the opportunities they feel they need.

Many organisations will see themselves in only one or two of these descriptions. They are the lucky ones. But there are many that will see four or more of these signs that their business strategy either isn’t understood or isn’t appreciated by one or more of the stakeholder groups mentioned. Those organisations then have a choice. They can try to muddle through the improvement story on their own, or they can call upon a story professional to help guide them through the journey required to bring them up to the standard of a well tuned unit. AntipodeYarns Consulting stands ready should that need arise. Contact us now for further information.

Categories: Business Articles

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Jemma Hooper

IT Professional, Writer and multimedia producer

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