Wouldn’t it be nice if all we had to do to succeed in business was “follow the yellow brick road?” If that were the case, the traffic on that path might be worse than Interstate 405 in Los Angeles at rush hour
Unfortunately, most roads to success include a lot of curves, bends and detours. Personally, I think the detours exist to make each of us show how committed we are to success. How bad do we want it? These obstacles can also be a great opportunity to take a step back and see the bigger picture of what we are doing.
What happens when your company hits a plateau or obstacle? What do you do when sales have leveled off, company morale has slipped and employees seem to be going through the motions at work? How can you get past the wall in front of your business in order to continue your climb to success?
Here are three simple suggestions for dealing with detours and obstacles to success:
1. Evaluate the situation.
What’s the problem? Is it something small, or was the path in front of you completely blown up? In most instances, the problem is usually minor, but don’t simply dismiss it as nothing. That’s when minor problems can become major issues. You may want to look for problems that become trends—whether it’s with your employees, vendors or customers. Trends can turn a $50 problem into a $5,000 nightmare.
Lastly, is your obstacle a “false wall?” Sometimes we can create our own detours out of fear. We may be afraid of success and create excuses as to why we can’t move forward.
Takeaway: Evaluate your situation to determine what is impeding your path to success. You can’t beat something if you don’t know what it is.
2. Generate possible solutions.
Problems can provide great learning opportunities for employees to make decisions. You can empower them to evaluate the situation and come up with possible solutions. This may be the first step in creating new leaders in your company.
However, you may not want to go with employees' first response; make sure they've looked at the problem from every angle. It’s imperative to make sure your team has all the information they need to assess the situation and make the best possible decision.
Takeaway: By empowering your employees to address the obstacles in your company’s path, you're helping to create confident leaders who can help take your business to the next level.
3. Attack the problem.
Once you and your team have decided on a solution for the problem, attack it. The last thing you want is to have a problem, once thought handled, come back and wreak more havoc on your business. Recurring problems or detours may slow down your workforce productivity and potentially create morale problems. No one wants to deal with the same issues over and over again.
Takeaway: One of the biggest factors in a company’s success may be its ability to successfully deal with obstacles in its path to growth. Don’t let recurring problems or obstacles derail your business.
What are the current obstacles in your company’s path to success? Are you doing everything you can to bust through them, or are they slowing you down? Make the obstacles a priority, attack them and notice how much smoother the path becomes.
Read more articles about leadership skills.
A version of this article was originally published on November 11, 2015.