When working to ‘fix’ their business, many managers address the symptoms rather than dealing with the real issues. And then they wonder why the problem persists.

To use a medical analogy, ‘high blood pressure’ is a symptom.  To fix it, we must address the real causes which are likely too much salt, smoking, not drinking enough water, too much stress, not getting enough exercise and/or being overweight or obese.

Unless the real causes are dealt with, the high blood pressure will continue and get worse.  So it is in business.  While ‘low profitability’ would appear to be a problem, it’s actually a symptom of a number of other issues that need to be dealt with.  Issues like…

  • not having the right product or service.
  • no clear and compelling value story, resulting in low sales volume and low margins.
  • out-of-control operating expenses.
  • poor inventory control.
  • low employee morale caused by ineffective management.

‘High staff turnover’ is a symptom of poor hiring practices, inadequate training and/or a negative, disorganized or toxic culture.

‘Poor customer service’ is a symptom of as many as 24 possible ‘real’ causes that must be dealt with.  Our 1-page ‘Service Challenge Audit Sheet’ lists the 24 possible causes of ‘poor service’ and you can download that, no charge, by Clicking Here.

So, when working to fix problems in your business or department, make sure that you’re working on the real issues and not the symptoms.  Dig deep to discover what really needs fixing.  Involve your team.  They know stuff and they hate it when you don’t ask.     

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About Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper, MBA, CSP, HoF: Donald speaks and coaches in over 40 industries throughout the world.  He delivers the ‘straight goods’ on how to sell more, manage smarter, grow your bottom line...and have a life!  To chat about ‘possibilities’ for your next business or Industry Association Conference, call me at 416-252-3703 in Toronto, or click here to connect to our ‘Enquiry Page’.  

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