Andrew Miller on How the Best CEOs Deal with Growth Problems

Regardless of how much time, effort, and money you put into a business, there may always be setbacks that arise.  Maybe your production costs are too high, or your employee morale is too low: regardless of the situation, change is needed.

Luckily, we can look toward successful business leaders who have faced everything under the sun and consider their reactions when figuring out how to take that next step. We talked to former Polycom CEO Andrew Miller about this, and he had some advice to share.

Gather All Data Possible

The moment you notice your company is stagnating, it’s time to start gathering information.  Find out when these growth issues began if there’s anything that could have caused it, and where they’re born from.  If you work hard at it, you may be able to pinpoint the problems to a portion of your company to set your focus there.  A good CEO will delegate this work and quickly get back information; there’s no time to spare since every change can make a colossal difference. 

Consider Your Options

Once you’ve gathered all of this information, it’s time to consider what it means.  Did your company hit a standstill because you could not get the product out fast enough to customers?  Is it because your work isn’t top quality or doesn’t have the green appeal customers expect from you?  You can put out a poll to customers directly if you still aren’t sure, and they’ll help you see the problems they’ve noticed.

Make Changes

Don’t hold back; make the changes you see necessary for your company.  Although it may be tempting to try sticking with what you’re doing and see if things eventually work out: this isn’t any way to run a business. You have to be flexible and let your company change and adapt based on the reactions to it.  Talk to all of your employees, and discuss the changes you’re making, and they’ll be more likely to help work with you on them.  

Review Changes Later On

Once your changes have been active for a couple of weeks, or months, look at your results.  Positive changes aren’t always immediate, but any step forward is better than stagnation.  Track what changes are doing for your business.  If things are getting worse still, it may be time for another change.  Follow your instincts, and talk to your peers about what may have worked for them.  Insight from another business owner is worth its weight in gold, and you should listen carefully.

Listen To Employees 

Although many may not consider asking their employees, a good CEO wouldn’t skip out on this incredible insight.  Employees see your company for what it is and are more likely to want to input.  These people work to make your business thrive, and their touches leave deep fingerprints on your company’s success.  Take everything they say at face value, and hold yourself back from being reactive if they say something you disagree with. You don’t have to follow through with everything they consider an improvement, but there will be gold hidden among the answers.

Drew Neisser