Situation:  Our client was performing on par with their industry; however, to remain viable over the long-term, they had to kick it up a notch to grow market share and profitability.  We are yet to see a business without vast opportunities.  The key is in seeing them through the day-to-day firefighting, customer interactions and Board member/ corporate requirements.

How could they see them?  They tried getting together for retreats, sponsoring lean initiatives like kaizen events and several other promising programs but the diamonds in the rough didn’t emerge.

Path Forward:  Spotting hidden opportunities is often-times a team effort.  However, few organizations have true teams.  If one member can succeed and gain a big bonus while another performs at an average level and is rewarded accordingly, you have a committee; not a team.  A team will sink or swim together.

Thus, there is no reason to get together at a fancy off-site retreat.  Instead, what is required is to commit to mutually agreeable objectives and look for opportunities that are best for meeting those objectives regardless of how good or bad for your individual goals.  Collaborate and turn 1 + 1 into 5.

For example, if the team found great potential in an exciting new product yet the VP of Operations’ results would decline substantially for a period of time due to new product development trials, should the VP be rewarded for this weaker performance?  Absolutely!

Of course, it isn’t a free ticket, and declines in performance can be estimated and tracked.  Think about this – as a Board member or a corporate executive walks through the facility with the VP of Sales and mentions issues with operations, how will the VP of Sales respond?  Will he/she take the easy road, agree and take the congrats on the sales growth – or just not respond and focus attention on sales?  Or will he/she defend the VP of Operations?  Act in accordance with the team and results will follow.