A number of businesses I meet are dying slowly. Often without knowing it.
And it’s just like the sunny spell we’re enjoying in the UK.
I know. It’s the summer. Sun’s out. And here I am talking about business death, and relating it to the sunshine.
There was a fascinating article recently in the FT – “The British still think heatwaves are fun — not for much longer”. It’s main premise is that while we’re having our love-affair with the sunshine, such a treat for us here, we’re ignoring quite how ill-equipped we are in the UK for the warming that’s coming a permanent basis.
The uptick in wildfires. In the UK. The inability of our housing stock to support us in heat. The productivity impact. The death (sorry – there I go again!).
But how does that relate to companies dying?
The common thread is our behaviour. Our avoidance of anything difficult in the short-term is making the long term harder.
I’ve spoken to MDs and CEOs who know they have team members who are dragging the culture down and openly flouting the values. Usually because they feel bigger than it – top sales guy (yes, usually men), top developer, whatever.
But undermining positive values in the organisation through their behaviour.
More often than not, the MDs sit on it. They may feel it, but they justify their ways out of it.
But it will drag the team down and create far bigger issues. Good people leaving. Sucking the joy out of work. Bringing others down to their level. Making the team feel that the MD/CEO doesn’t take values seriously and/or displays favouritism.
And by not facing it, or half-arsing it, you think you’ve survived, but all you’ve done is limp through a problem that will kill your business slowly.
The medicine’s the same for our heat predicament as it is for the company.
Face the short term problem, and take the near-term hit to deal with it.
Ideally while still enjoying the sunshine… We can still bring joy as we do serious work.
But either way, deal with it if you want to build better.
(Oh – and in case you thought this post was going to go down the route that businesses need to get much more involved in minimising our environmental impact, yes. That too!)
P.S. I will be out enjoying the sunshine. Might go on the river with my family and a drink. But I’ll also be reading up a bit about cooling houses without installing air conditioning.
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