As 720thinkers, we are often asked to help businesses by providing a new perspective and fresh eyes. We immediately start to peek and poke into the grey areas of a business. Not those places that are readily apparent and tangible. Not that the obvious measures aren’t important, for they certainly are not the only factors to consider. But, we have repeatedly found that the shaded areas are where create small cracks in the fundamentals and foundation of the business happen.
I recently heard this interesting term, seduced into inadequacy, which certainly fits well in that grey area. Believe it or not, seduction is all about leadership. According to Thefreedictionary.com, seduction is “to lead away from duty, accepted principles, or proper conduct.” Please note the key word in this definition – LEAD. Now, consider inadequacy which is defined as,”insufficient, falling short, failing.” Which is exactly what happens when a leader fail to focus on duty, principles, vision and value.
I don’t believe any leader intentionally wants to set their company up for failure. However, on any given day, there are at first those distractions and detractors that cause us to seduce us a little further away from purpose. We allow slight, detrimental, almost inconsequential comments and conversations to slide. We brush off a sharp tone or a slip in standards, believing and treating them as isolated events. Employees and clients now see behaviors are allowed that are confusing.
Next, we allow slightly bigger situations to pass. The meeting that gets out of hand and the agenda is totally derailed. The employee not acknowledged, either positively or negatively, for small policy infractions. Customers are treated as a nuisance. Now quality and service start to slip.
Gradually, we start to notice that our top performers numbers are slipping or they have left the company. Key clients reduce orders and then ultimately leave,seeing us a vendor, not a valued partner. Investors start asking more demanding questions and ask for more tangible plans and metrics.
Seduction by inadequacy is not an overnight turn of events. It happens almost like the small drip of water on a rock that eventually leads to massive erosion. It’s not easy to see the small changes but the damage, without early detection, is all too often irreversible.
Is your business being seduced by inadequacy?