The Cost of Status Quo

Written by Vicki Lauter on . Posted in Stages of Growth

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Status quo noun -‘kwo: the current situation: the way things are now

“One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion” –Voltaire

The quote from Voltaire challenges us to not fall prey to the illusion that everything is fine.  You know when something just doesn’t feel right, yet some of you ignore that feeling and like an ostrich keep your head in the sand as if “it” will go away or get fixed on its own.

Most entrepreneurs/business owners and executives hate the status quo. You probably started your business because you were tired of the bureaucratic big company you were working for and you figured you could do a better job at running a business, provide a collaborative culture and vowed it would NEVER become a company like the one you are leaving. Entrepreneurs and business owners alike, also know if you aren’t growing your business you are killing your business.

The challenge is not in the start-up phase of your business when it’s new and exciting and everyone is wearing many hats. The challenges come as your company grows, you add more people AND you resist changing.  I call that the status quo.

While you may not think there is a cost of the status quo, let me assure you there is a bigger cost than perhaps you even imagine. About a year ago I got the opportunity to do some work with a (Stage 6) company that had 160 employees. The organization had been started by a guy that just got tired of working for someone else and felt he could do a better job at building a company, have a better life for himself, his family and employees.

If you have built a business you know as you grow and add people things start to feel as if they are getting out of control and chaotic. That is IF you have not put any of the processes or systems in place at other stages of your business that would support your growth.

While conducting a Stages of Growth X-Ray that uncovered their challenges, I found: inadequate profits, no new staff orientation, hiring issues, communication gaps between leadership and employees and staff development and feedback. The Stages of Growth X-Ray provides the business owner and their leadership team a road-map to tackle the challenges and a process to move forward with specific initiatives the whole team decides to work on first. Most business owners know when something isn’t working but they just can’t seem to name the exact thing that is keeping their business from moving forward; X-Ray will shine the light on your current company issues in the area of people, process and profits.

I provided the feedback to the owner and leadership team in a two day debrief session which included lots of participation from the leadership group. We captured all the great ideas and thoughts from the team in the two day session. I was shocked when I heard the business owner didn’t plan to make any changes regarding the challenges that came out of the X-Ray in the two day session.  He was concerned that the company would lose the family culture. As a business owner myself I walked away scratching my head and wondering if you can see the challenges in black/white, WHY wouldn’t you change?

I’m here to tell you, if you have a strong culture to begin with, you will not lose your culture if you decide to do what is right for the business and YOUR employees and put a more formal structure or process in place. Employees crave structure – they want to know what is expected of them.  They want to know if they hit a goal they will receive feedback and perhaps even be rewarded.

I found out later that several of the key leadership on this guy’s team left the company because they had seen HOW great the company COULD be if only the owner would have supported some of the initiatives.

If you are a business owner, CEO or leader I ask you to think about what is the cost of status quo in your business?

I’ll end with a quote from Alan M. Webber, the founding editor of Fast Company, and author of Rules of Thumb: “Change is a math formula. Change happens when the cost of the status quo is greater than the risk of change: C(SQ)>R(C).”

Contact us for a complimentary consultation to learn how a Stages of Growth X-Ray can help you uncover your company issues and provide you a road-map to help you drive profits, develop people and improve processes.

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