Steps to Management Success – Step 98: One Broken Link Can Ruin the Chain

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 8th, 2010

STEP NINETY-EIGHT

One Broken Link Can Ruin the Chain

Remember that school-teacher-strict English lady on that TV quiz show a few years ago? Each round, she would tersely dismiss the poorest contestant with her withering catchphrase, “You are the weakest link—goodbye!” It’s a smart way to manage your business too.

WHAT IT MEANS: Like rocks in a stream or a leaky gasket in your car, it doesn’t take much to impede the smooth functioning or potential success of your organization. It could be a toxic employee or manager, a problem department, or perhaps a process or policy that’s tripping you up—whatever it is, it needs to be identified and fixed—fast! You can certainly make an attempt to intervene and correct, but if the problem persists, it’s probably time to get a new link.

ACTION PLAN: Look for bottleneck areas in your business. What’s slowing it down? What people just aren’t pulling their weight or seem to be a continual source of static and drama? Don’t avoid the possibility that you might (however unintentionally) be part of the problem. Keep your ear to the grapevine, and listen to what your coworkers and customers are saying. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire—but don’t wait till you’re badly burned to respond to it.

EVEN BETTER: Set clear, measurable guidelines and standards so that people know what’s expected of them. Also, try to have backup or contingency systems in place to handle overflow situations—perhaps another shift to handle peak manufacturing or shipping periods, or perhaps some arrangements with local temp agencies or external service providers to get you over the hump as needed.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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