Where is your weak link?

3 steps to weeding them out!

Every business has one (or more).  Sometimes it’s a process, sometimes a product, but more often than not, it’s a PERSON

How should you address weak links?  These three steps are necessary, if you’re interested in strengthening your business.

Identify:  First, you must clearly identify the weak links.  You can do this by asking for, and paying attention to, customer feedback.  Ask about processes, products and people.  Do not be offended by what you hear.  Customers will tell you their perceptions and, you can either choose to believe them and build your business or ignore them and watch it fail.  Inform your employees that you are asking for specific feedback.  Meanwhile, look around, watch people work, and examine data regarding output/efficiency.  Look in the places your customers might not see.

Intervene: A weak link left unchecked will eventually break your business.  Share the results of your “Identification” step.  Again, this is no time for people to get offended.  This is business.  If a person is one of your problems, it’s time to make it public.  The rest of your employees know who the weak link is and will appreciate the fact that you’re finally addressing the situation.  Determine what it will take to strengthen the weak link.  The answer may be awareness, training, process changes, or reorganization.  Be strong enough to take the actions needed, or your employees will lose faith in your leadership.

Institute:  Institute a measurement process for important business metrics so that weak links are identified quickly and you can determine whether or not interventions are effective.  Share metrics with employees so that the quality and efficiency of your business is known and improvements can be celebrated.  You may also want to institute a reward and recognition program so that continuous improvement is encouraged and reinforced.

Weeding out weak links not only strengthens your business but also improves employee morale.  Here’s your reality check for the day:  Don’t wait for weak links to fix themselves … that just never happens.