The first costly mistake is "the Secret Strategy" - where the owner / founder / president is the ONLY one who knows what the strategy is.
Is that crazy, or have you seen it, too?
In the case that led to naming this, a business owner actually told me "No, I don't tell my people what my strategy is. We have high turnover in this industry, and if I tell them what it is, my competition will know it within a few months."
I had to bite my tongue to resist asking the "Dr Phil" question: "How's that workin' for ya?"
What I did instead was to ask more specific questions about the impact on several areas that are predictable problems with the "secret strategy" approach:
- The owner has to make all the decisions, because he/she's the only one who knows the strategy and real priorities.
- Because of that, the owner is always "fighting fires" and handling crises caused by the players not knowing the playbook.
- Because of that, employees who are bright, have initiative, and prefer some autonomy start to feel stifled and "second-guessed."
- Because of that, the best ones leave, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy about turnover, leaving the owner having to replace good talent and scramble to cover in the meantime.
- Because of that, the customer experience suffers from mistakes, churning, and a succession of new customer-facing reps - not the way to inspire confidence or loyalty!