Action (November 2012)

I am always amazed at the lack of action I see in companies that are in the midst of crisis.    Problems abound and people generally know what they are but everyone seems to tolerate them for some reason or another.    In cases such as these, I ask a lot of questions but then finding myself telling people what to do.  My preference is not to give orders but rather to help people learn how to make better decisions.  Ultimately, I want to leave each of my clients better than I found them.   I want their processes to be better and more efficient.   Revenues and profits should be up and the staff should have skills they didn’t have before I arrived on the scene.   That being said, sometimes I have to make staff development a longer term goal in order to be effective immediately.

I always get surprised looks when I tell people to change operating procedures, to do things they haven’t done before, to stop doing things they have done “forever”, and when I invariably restructure financial reports.  A typical question I get is whether the CEO or owner had said “yes” to my direction.  My response is always the same. “I didn’t ask.”  Too many people, sometimes even at surprisingly high levels, have the belief that they should get permission for everything that they do. 

A favorite boss of mine told me something early in my career that I will always remember. It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.  He added, you’ll always get forgiveness but you’ll never get permission.  He had a reputation for being a bit of a cowboy in the organization.    He also had the reputation for being highly effective.   He and I shared the belief that if you wait for permission, you’ll never get anything done.  In the entire time we worked together we were only challenged once for breaking the rules.  It was a challenge that was easily overcome.  

Another question I often get is “What if we make a mistake?”  “Then we’ll fix it”, I reply.    Everyone makes mistakes but what people often don’t realize is that they are making mistakes every day by not doing things differently.   They feel that by following rules and procedures they are “being safe”.   Usually the opposite is true.  They are developing a reputation for themselves of not being effective.  Moreover, that puts them in the “part of the problem” camp as opposed to the “part of the solution” camp.  

I am not suggesting breaking rules or abandoning procedure just for the sake of doing so.  Processes and procedures do exist for a reason.  But when a company is in crisis, things need to change and change comes from taking action.  Often, a big part of the reason a company is in crisis is due to lack of action.  People wait and hope for things to get better even in the face of overwhelming evidence that something needs to change.  Sure, there will be a few mistakes along the way but if action is well thought out it’s highly unlikely that those mistakes will be any worse than the alternative.  

Look around your organization.  Think about the way things are being done and what is not being done.  Then take action.   

If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you.  Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to      For more information, visit www.homza.com
your
cash is flowing.  know where.®    

Ken Homza   

Copyright @ 2012 Homza Consulting, Inc.

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