The Pattern of Problems

Posted On: October 11

Many of you who know me understand that I’ve built my entire career in finding patterns. The books I write, the workshops I teach, and my executive coaching practice all focus on helping people understand the essential elements of business and leadership success. However, I also look for the patterns in what causes organizations to decline.


Working with literally thousands of companies worldwide, here is the pattern I have seen of the significant issues that hobble business.

  1. Lack of a vivid, compelling, and well-communicated vision and strategy for growth.
  2. Lack of specific, measurable, binary metrics that support the vision and strategy.
  3. Do not truly listen to and deeply understand their customers.
  4. Lack of disciplined execution/accountability in pursuing the vision and strategy.
  5. Do not do an adequate job in talent acquisition, development, and retention.
  6. Do not deal decisively with mediocrity.
  7. Have not invested enough time and energy in building a strong positive culture.
  8. Not focused enough on innovation.
  9. Lack of trust and true teamwork.
  10. Lack of psychological safety that allows people to speak with candor.


These are the things that I repeatedly see that create dysfunction in an organization and hold it back from achieving success.


It would be my suggestion that you sit down with your top people and score the above items on this scale:

1 = Strongly Agree that this describes our organization.

3 = Agree Somewhat that this describes our organization.

5 = Not Sure if this describes our organization.

7 = Disagree Somewhat that this describes our organization.

10 = Strongly Disagree that this describes our organization.


Anyplace you score a seven or less should be an area of concern, and any score below a five should get you very worried.

As you look at this list, you might think the items I’ve listed are relatively mundane, just fundamental business practices that you know are important. However, there is a big difference between knowing something and doing it every single day.

If you need help making your organization more effective, send me a note. I would love to assist you.

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