When everyone at your company is busy, but things aren’t moving forward

Not infrequently I come across companies where everyone is really busy and works hard, but somehow things just aren’t moving forward as quickly as they should.  Usually these companies have a burn rate that is too high and/or unsustainable.

This can feel like an intractable problem – everyone is working so hard after all, and it isn’t just a case of cutting some unwarranted activity e.g. too much marketing spend.

Sometimes I’m sure it is intractable.  But often it isn’t.  If these symptoms are present the issue is cultural/managerial and very fixable (not necessarily easy though).

  • Too many internal meetings
  • Too many people attending meetings (particularly external)
  • Delegation not happening properly
  • Limited sharing of information between departments
  • Lack of trust between members of the executive team
  • Unclear or disputed control of process
  • Too much re-work (e.g. re-writing of roadmaps and RFPs)

I hope this is useful.  Certainly it would have helped me catch a few problems a bit sooner.

  • It can also be structure – too “team focussed” – as startups groe they have to move from “3 musketeer” management *all for one, one for all) to a structured heirarchy. This is simply because as more people come on board you get too many connections if its all peer level/ matrixed, so you need to simplify.

  • It can also be structure – too “team focussed” – as startups groe they have to move from “3 musketeer” management *all for one, one for all) to a structured heirarchy. This is simply because as more people come on board you get too many connections if its all peer level/ matrixed, so you need to simplify.