Friday, January 20, 2017

What's Holding Back Your Business May Not Be What You Think

Leading and running a business can be a daunting endeavor no matter the size, even running a department or team for that matter can seem like a formidable challenge.  The pressure is ever present to deliver results and for some, knowing how to improve results is the ultimate leadership test.

If you have not been getting the outcomes you want or wish to improve what's already a decent operation, there might be some "human elements" to consider that are undermining your business performance. The human element or human performance is commonly overlooked in considering profitable improvements.

It's not the first place many leaders and business owners consider and yet it's a key component to quickly impact improved results. What's initially considered in the quest to enhance results is other resources and processes (sales & marketing, strategy & planning for example), rather than the "human resource".

This is not to say those areas should not be reviewed. It's just common that human performance is not in the mix or weighted as a critical piece. Performance management (talent management) is business management -- successful business management must include talent/performance management. should start with the leader and or leadership team. Even if human performance is considered,  leaders don't typically look at themselves first and ask questions such as, "What about me and my leadership has allowed this to be or has lead us to where we are now or not?"

So even if you just need to fine tune your results, here is a list of common human elements to look for that impact performance. You can apply this list to both you and your teams.

Qualities or conditions that adversely impact human performance, undermine effectiveness, productivity and ultimately could be holding back your business....(starter list):
  • confusion
  • lack of clarity of what to do, or what is wanted
  • saying yes too much
  • not saying no enough
  • overwhelm
  • fear
  • lack of process (the tangible, executable road map)
  • lack of courage
  • not communicating frequently enough
  • last of trust
  • broken rapport with team members
  • not communicating clearly
  • keeping and or not addressing toxic employees
  • inability to prioritize
  • pushing too hard
  • pushing too little
  • leadership vacuum
  • lack of boundaries
  • discouragement
  • lack of relevant knowledge
  • unresolved hurts
  • arrogance
  • minimal appreciation
  • micro-managing
  • disrespect
  • lack of focus
  • absence of accountability
I'm confident in saying that if someone asked a leader, "What's holding back your business?", the items on this list would probably not be mentioned or at top of mind and yet one of these effectively addressed could unlock better outcomes and profits.

Here's an important question in closing this post, "Do you truly believe addressing any of these will impact your profits?" I ask that, because though many leaders say yes to that question,  they don't act or make decisions in a way that reflects that. This is a sure indicator they really don't believe it. Actions reflect beliefs and inaction reflects beliefs.

For example, if you as a leader have struggled with any of these for an extended period time and have not gotten help, that suggests there is a belief (probably subconscious) that it's not important, it doesn't matter and it's really not relevant to the bigger picture -- that it's not impacting the business outcomes you value and desire.

Many leaders function with a perilous insensitivity to how the human experience in their company environments impacts business outcomes. This is a leadership hazard that must be remedied. Without doing so, the human resource of a company will be perpetually mis-used and under-utilized. (Side note: some would classify this sensitivity under the umbrella of emotional and social intelligence.)

This perilous insensitive can be serve to be costly. In my new executive briefing release, this is addressed with simple solutions to mitigate the cost and in fact positively impact revenue.

Latest executive briefing => Show Me The Money! 

In my experience getting help and effectively addressing these don't have to be a full blown science experiment. Perhaps seeing it as such is what holds decision-makers back from seeking assistance.

Coaching tip: Develop an awareness and understanding of how the human element impacts business outcomes and specifically your business. If there are certain areas you believe need improvement, ask the team members in that area what's going on and what would be required to achieve new goals. You may very well discover that what's needed is related to some or many of the conditions listed above.

If this post resonates with you in any way, I offer one/one power coaching sessions. The first one is complementary. Also, it may be time to invite someone to help you determine through an independent lens if some of these elements exist, to what degree and specifically how it's undermining the very results you (and if you're in a large organization) and other key stakeholders want. Em: to share your thoughts.

If you need to learn more about talent management, pick up my handbook. It was written for HR professionals, business owners and leaders - 15 Shifts: The Essential Guide to Transform Your Talent Management 

Gain solutions to the challenges addressed in this post with our new briefing:  Show Me The Money!  | Kindle

About our work: We help companies align human behavior to business processes and strategies to improve results by first rapidly improving leadership and management capabilities.

Learn More About How We Can Help
If you want to learn more and read case studies in detail,  I recommend 2 of our latest executive briefings: 

> Show Me The Money! Solving the Mystery of ROI to Unlock Profits & Increase Company Value - click here to access This is one of the best, easy to read discussions on how to connect human behavior to profits (a critical knowledge point for all leaders).

> I've Been Around the Block a Few Times: Let me Save You a Few Trips and Some Money Along the Way (my 20th anniversary briefing of insights and advice, which includes my top 6 business building tips through the lens of leveraging the human element) - click here for a complimentary digital copy.

Both are full of unique business building strategies and concepts that have proven to impact any company's P/L. Want to improve your people management? Want to generate operational improvement? You'll want to get both!

 Schedule a complimentary advisory call and receive a copy of our latest executive briefing.

// The Human Sphere™ is a holistic business growth consultancy that partners with forward-thinking senior leaders to bridge the knowledge gap in connecting people, performance, and profits. We focus on better business building by helping leaders understand and leverage human behavior. This knowledge gap is the most significant reason for operational problems.

// email: // Ph: 888.388.0565 //

 Schedule a complimentary advisory call and receive a copy of our latest executive briefing.


  1. JoAnn, what a great article on such an important topic. The list of the human factors that effect performance is fantastic and should be printed out by leaders and managers for quick reference.

  2. When you make your business design, you are not simply writing down irregular numbers on a bit of paper.Get More Info