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Develop Defensiveness Extinguishers to Find More Great Profit Opportunities

Mar 9, 2008
Leaders can set a good example for overcoming defensiveness. Tell people they'll be appreciated and rewarded for bringing forth issues that need to be addressed, and behave that way in reality.

If you are consistent in your words and deeds, you'll soon have lots of help in finding irresistible force situations that can be addressed. A CEO promoted one executive very rapidly, putting him in charge of ever larger operations. When asked why, the CEO said that the executive was the only division head who told the CEO quickly and honestly whenever his division had a problem, and asked for help.

What has been the punishment for bringing up these issues in the past, and how can that punishment be replaced with rewards and more appropriate communications?

The importance of answering this question can be seen in the following example. One leader wanted to reduce unnecessary injuries in his company.

The work was dangerous, and it was much more costly to treat the injuries than it was to avoid them. Despite these facts, costs related to workers' compensation had soared for the company in recent years. That trend in costs was an irresistible force.

Formerly, supervisors tried to hide avoidable injuries from top management, so the leader instituted several new rules that included giving all employees the right to request from top management what they needed to improve work safety. Most such requests were automatically granted in a day. Anyone who might interfere with these requests or their fulfillment was warned that he or she would be fired immediately.

Also, when each injury occurred, the injured employee's supervisor had to call the leader within an hour, explain what had happened, and describe how future injuries of this sort would be avoided. A follow-up written report to the leader was required in a few days as well. Supervisors hated making these calls and doing these reports, so they became more active in avoiding accidents.

Within a year, workplace injuries essentially disappeared from the company. The benefits exceeded the costs by more than ten to one, and everyone was proud of what they had done. The workers and their families were also greatly benefited by having much of their fear of injury eliminated, as well as actually suffering many fewer injuries.

How have other enterprises encouraged their employees, customers, and suppliers to identify opportunities to take advantage of irresistible forces?

Start asking this question. Ask it whenever you meet with people from other organizations, as well as those who visit other enterprises like professors, suppliers, and consultants.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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