It’s winter here in New England, which means I have my annual cold. I can’t taste or smell a darn thing. Don’t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for my children. Yesterday, my eleven-year old daughter told me the milk tasted rotten. How could that be? It wasn’t set to expire for another few days and there was nothing curdling in my coffee. I told her she was wrong. She took one look at me and tossed the milk into the sink. This morning my husband informed me that the milk had soured. I had to take his word, as I still can’t smell a darn thing.
That got me thinking. How does a business owner or executive know if there is something souring in their organization, if their head is stuffed with images of what life used to look like inside their organization? You can’t. You have to rely on others. Inside people may hide what’s really happening, for fear that it will reflect badly on them. Or in some cases, they too have lost their sense of smell. So what’s a business owner or executive to do?
Bringing in someone with a fresh eye, or in this case a fresh nose, to help you quickly sniff out problem areas. This is a job best reserved for someone who doesn’t have any preconceived notions nor a territory to protect.
I get calls all the time from organizations asking me to come in and provide them with an objective opinion as to how they can improve their organizations. I welcome these calls because they come from the cream of the crop. By that I mean, companies that are always looking at ways of doing things quicker, better and more profitably. Now compare this to the calls I receive when companies suspect something is rotting inside their organization, yet they can’t quite put their finger on it. I’ll tell you this. The cream of the crop organizations that I work with usually catch wind that something is beginning to spoil because they have their senses about them. It’s easy for them to make immediate corrections. It takes much more time, effort and money to find and correct the source of a problem that stinks to high heaven.
I went to the doctor this morning for an expert opinion on my condition and I’m now armed with a prescription that will quickly get me back to full health. What are you waiting for?