Top 3 ‘Oh Shit’ Moments in Business

There are some dumb things that happen and are said in businesses situations and sometimes they lead to poor practices. Of course no business sets out to create inefficiencies but these things do happen over time. The bigger the business, the more prevalent the disease. In this article we discuss the Top 3 ‘oh shit’ moments when bad practices rear their ugly heads and how you can take action.

  1. When you hear someone say, “That’s the way we’ve always done that.” OR “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?” run for the hills. You’ve been infected!

time for change sign with led lightBlindly repeating the actions of a predecessor can lead to this mentality. The only constant is change. And let’s face it, change can generate innovation and excitement where passion can be lacking. It’s important to ask questions for continuous improvement. Understanding initial decisions and why they were made will be paramount when managing resource churn. As new technology presents itself, and as your industry changes, it will be productive to seize new skills, processes and tools to adapt. This should be seen as a business opportunity rather than pose as an adverse business risk.

2. The next time someone mentions, “Yeah, but this new tool is going to solve our problems.” OR “It’s the tool’s fault, because it can’t do [insert a feature].” take heed! This mindset is too focused on the technology instead of the people and processes. Over time this leads to tool sprawl and mismanagement of the technology meant to help.

woman wearing red and black checkered blouse using macbook

In some business cases, tools are tied to a person or even a calamity where business decisions may have been made based on knee-jerk reactions to firefighting or maybe it’s as simple as the lack of business maturity. Over time it’s very easy to be ‘in the weeds’ with a number of tool sets where only 20% of the tool is actually understood and utilized. Dedicating the time and resources to learning the other 80% often goes by the wayside and instead the tool you had is simply replaced with another tool, which will presumably solve business problems. This thought process of adding more tools to the stack can lead to a new set of issues like unnecessary network load, wasted budget, silos of chaos, and increased security risks. Look to your people and processes to be the driver for excellence delivering on business goals not features of software. Everytime a new tool is considered, simultaneously review existing tools.

3. The next time a deadline is missed and phrases like, “But nobody told me about this.” OR “Mistakes were made…” are uttered, you might have an accountability problem.

man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting

It is not uncommon for a lack of accountability to creep into business process. Unclear priorities, low levels of trust, missing objectives, and unmet deadlines is a recipe for disaster. When working in teams and with multiple teams, it’s tough to hold others accountable if nothing is defined. It’s important to ensure everyone is aligned. Expectations should be set with teams and what success looks like should be defined. “If you never tell anyone what you expect, then expect to be disappointed.” –Thoughtful Leader

That’s it. Of course there are more ‘ah shit’ use cases we could roll through but these top 3 are pretty rampant in businesses no matter what their size, so keep your ears and eyes peeled for the warning signs.

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