How did The Boss act when “The Toy” was broken…!

There are times when I first engage with a business that I realize the business model that has worked for many years is broken for whatever reason and my goal is to work with The Boss to repair or “fix” their long-standing business model. 

As I begin to work with The Boss to assess the challenges of the organization, I often find myself working closely with the key employees of the organization. As we begin our work together, it becomes apparent what needs to be improved and what is working well. Often, I come to this assessment through the insight of the key employees.  In short, the answers to the problems the business is experiencing are often offered up to me by these seasoned employees. Why then does The Boss not know how to fix the problems? Once the business model is broken and The Boss cannot fix it himself or herself, they may become frustrated because The Boss feels they should have all the answers, it’s their business after all.  The real answer lies in poor communications and The Boss has not engaged these key employees, who are the “subject matter experts”, to help to solve the issues. Ever-so-often I see The Boss dis-engaging because “their toy” is now broken and doing business is frustrating and not as fun as it used to be. In effect, The Boss has a “broken toy” caused by playing too ruff with the toy and miss-managing their business.  

By working with the key employees, we set out to improve the business model and “fix” the toy. This doesn’t happen overnight and while we are in the process of establishing a viable business model The Boss remains frustrated and dis-engaged.  Once the business begins to show improvements, re-established a positive bottom line, and is running smoothly again, I often see The Boss want to re-engage and run the company again. The Boss sees that “the toy is fixed” and is fun to play with again.  This may help The Boss feel good again, but it is very frustrating to the company’s key employees who are the real reason for the business’s recovery. As The Boss, you must stay engaged with the business and be a part of the solutions, not exiting when the business is under-performing and re-engaging when the cash is flowing.  Most business owners would say; “No business owner would do this!”, but I can assure you I have seen it time and time again. Don’t get caught up in this trap, stay engaged when “the toy is broken” and be part of the solution. Engage your key employees and work together to “fix the toy!”