The Four Serial Killers of Every Business
By Pavlo Phitidis
It may seem a somewhat macabre analogy, but the four serial killers that threaten your business are, most often, not knocking on your window at midnight. Instead, they come from within your business. Serial killers have a particular attitude and behave in a certain way. We considered these four serial killers on The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield:
While caller Emmanuel may have noted that CEOs are often arrogant because they know what they are doing, there’s a distinct difference between arrogance and confidence. Moreover, arrogance is no longer relevant in the business world, because the world moves so very quickly, and the person you’re arrogant towards today, could be your customer, or your boss, tomorrow. Arrogant statements made by a CEO can ruin any great work your developing business has created. Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) Director, Serge Belamont, recently made a callous and insensitive statement around the current social grants crisis, claiming that his company was the only service provider that can manage grant payments, unless government could send “pigeons to fly around” and deliver grants to recipients. Similarly, Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, was caught on camera, behaving rudely to one of his service’s drivers. This incident had a ripple effect across his company, leading him towards having to publicly apologise for his behaviour, but the damage was done.
Arrogant statements can create a feeling of antagonism towards your company, which leads to a breakdown in both internal and external relationships. Staff feel ashamed working at the company and investors begin to doubt, never mind the anti-goodwill is builds towards your brand!
Despite what you may believe, you are not the only person who can do what you do. Operating your business with a sense of entitlement can ruin relationships. One of the very first technology businesses I invested in was headed up by a 54-year old man. As we were working towards launching an important product, and operating under frightening deadlines, I called him on a Friday afternoon, for an update on progress, knowing that we were, most likely, not going to meet our product launch deadline. He was out paddling, and when I enquired why he was not focused on ensuring that our company was going to meet the deadline, he responded in an entitled way, telling me that he’d earned his right to take some time off. At crunch time in business, and especially in the fast-paced technology industry, that sense of entitlement never works out well for anyone.
Your ability to focus is an active choice, but it’s one that also enables relationships based on trust. Truth is found in action, and it is through consistent action or behaviour that you can fulfil the needs of your customers and create the great products or services your developing business has to offer. Your consistent, focused action shows your team, suppliers and customers that you operate with integrity, making you trustworthy and likeable.
Blaming someone else for the failures or mistakes you’ve made is a sure-fire serial killer for your growing business. Moreover, an unwillingness to grow or transform in response to a changing business environment can create blind spots, and lead you to no longer listen properly to the needs of your customers. It was this type of myopic view that led to the downfall of companies like Blackberry, Kodak and even messaging monolith, MXit. No business should ever be too big to listen to its customers, or change to match the environment it operates within.
How can you be certain that these four serial killers haven’t made their way into your business? Aurik can help you keep these serial killers at bay, while helping you build your business into an asset of value.