Signs of a Declining Business

1. Fuzzy Vision: people don't know where the organization is going and what it is trying to achieve in the future.

2. Lack of Leadership Skills: fear of change; leaders lack entrepreneurial spirit; leadership style on the part of management is either too directive or too hands-off; managers do not lead, they just administrate and micromanage; weak leadership development program.

3. Discouraging Culture: no shared values; lack of trust: blame culture; focus on problems, not opportunities; people don't have fun at work; diversity not celebrated; failures not tolerated; people lose confidence in their leaders and systems.

4. High Bureaucracy: bureaucratic organizational structures with too many layers; high boundaries between management layers; slow decision making;: too close monitoring of things and subordinates; too many tools and documents discouraging creative thinking; bureaucracy is tolerated.

5. Lack of Initiative: poor motivation encouragement; people do not feel their contributions make a difference; management fails to engage the organization effectively; people work defensively and not creatively, they do their job, and nothing more.

6. Poor Vertical Communication: people have no clue of the big picture and do not feel that their contributions are important; too much uncertainty; people don't know what top-managers are thinking and planning.

7. Poor Cross-functional Collaboration: functional mindset; lack of cross-functional goals and cross-functional collaboration spirit; functional, no enterprise-wide business process management; no cross-functional management committees; lack of or powerless cross-functional teams.

8. Poor Teamwork: no organizational commitment to team culture; lack of shared and worthwhile goals; weak team leaders; team members who don't want to play as part of a team are tolerated; teams are too large; lack of shared rewards.

9. Poor Idea and Knowledge Management: cross-pollination of ideas is not facilitated; no creativity, idea and knowledge management strategies and systems; "know-it-all" attitude; "not invented here" syndrome.


Harvey Schiller is founder and president of Corporate Kinetics, an advisory and management consulting firm that since 2002 has contributed to single owner/operated companies and multinationals in delivering extraordinary value, generating breakthrough performance and quantifiable improvement. As a speaker, Harvey has delivered many invited presentations and seminars to diverse audiences. As an academic, he has a Honors Bachelor of Science and a MBA.  He has also instructed at the universit...

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