Hitting a Wall

We have all been there at one point or another in our careers. No matter what you try, nothing seems to work. Or you get less impact or value from programs or promotions that used to work well.

Frustrating for sure. Drives you to distraction. Makes you cranky. Everyone on your leadership team knows that you are not happy. And that makes for uncomfortable conversations.

Some experts suggest taking a break. Recharge the batteries with a change of scene. Maybe a quick vacation. Do something you really enjoy outside of work. Just don’t bring the work headaches with you.

Yeah, right! It is virtually impossible to totally shut off work. You think about it 24 X 7. You dream about it. You make notes to yourself—with questions to ask, ideas to share, problems that keep you up at night. It is a part of you.

How to Get Going Again?

You are not alone here, so involve others that you trust. Get your team together, maybe even offsite for a day, or at least a half day. Recap your view of the current situation—how you got here, what the issues are, what things you have tried, lessons learned from your assessment. Ask each of them to bring their own situation analysis, including what they believe are the implications and possible solutions. Share the findings among the entire group.

Then make assignments for the offsite meeting with a focus on coming up with a viable set of options to move forward. Distribute all the findings in advance so that everyone has a chance to sleep on it and be well prepared to come with follow up questions and suggestions to take the good ideas and make them even better.

What Could Go Wrong?

Lots of things. Some members of your team are better at problem solving than others. Some folks are more vocal while others are more reserved. You might even be the one with the big personality, the one who dominates the conversation, the one who demands exceptional performance, and the one who expresses displeasure when things are not going so well.

Here are some thoughts on ways to tackle the team dynamics and come away with actionable ideas.

Welcome everyone to the meeting and be clear about what success looks like for when you walk out. But then, consider turning it over to the team. If you have a respected and recognized lieutenant (maybe your CFO), let him or her be the one to provide a synthesis of the team’s view of where you are plus the implications of doing nothing to course correct. In other words, hitting the wall.

Then you might want to break out into small groups of 3 – 5 folks to tackle a handful of the best ideas. Provide a template for the small group’s readout to the entire team for consistency. Restate the essence of the idea, what it might be worth, what resources it will take to implement, a rough timetable, and any key dependencies or issues that might get in the way.

Have each team present their idea(s) and encourage everyone to provide constructive feedback. Rank the ideas as a group, and then assign an individual to be the leader to further refine the game plan while tightening up the numbers and challenging the assumptions.

It is hard work, no doubt. And your team will likely be drained at the end of the day. So, take the time to gather to have drinks and dinner together. And do your best NOT to talk about the work just completed. Rather, focus on team chemistry, relationships, and bonding. You might even ask each team member to tell their favorite story from their background that others may not know. Teams are tested when the business has hit the wall and is struggling to regain its footing.

Back at the office, make the necessary refinements to your go forward plan quickly. Then let the entire company know what you plan to do since they will want to know. And you can restore some confidence and reinforce a sense of belonging. All good things.

Want Some Help?

At Forge, it is our firm belief that hitting a wall is not inevitable. In fact, we thrive on helping clients get to the next level and digging deep to understand your business. We are here to be a vested extension of your team, your partner, your trusted advisor, your devil’s advocate. And we will always bring the conversation back to strategy. How do we best get you onto the best path—one that has the greatest potential to get result? Even when (or especially when) you are about to hit the wall!

Importantly, we are pragmatic, focused, nimble, smart, and energetic. We get assignments done well, and quickly.

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    Hit “LET’S TALK” to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2.    We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3.    If we’re a fit, we finalize the details and get started!

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