4 factors are either barriers or opportunities; good or evil.

Understanding our barriers gives us the ability to size up our situation more objectively, and to see where extra effort is needed to smooth the path to success. “While we look for new ways to serve customers, I don’t want to do anything to upset what is already working.” This comment came from the CIO of one the world’s largest financial services providers “We now have 28 different mainframe databases. We spend half our annual budget keeping these systems working with each other. How can we gain leverage when we are fighting every day just to do the basics?”

Four high-level factors are either barriers or opportunities; good or evil.

  1. People and Politics – People are either attributes or detriments. I find it somewhat amazing when working with some of the best companies in America how often, inept people reach senior positions. Everyone around them knows it, and they know it. That is precisely when internal politics becomes a factor that limits success. Inept people in positions of power play politics to hide their inabilities. When they make mistakes, they point fingers. Wars break out. If these people are not identified and given training to strengthen their ability to lead wisely, they will need to be demoted to a position in which they can be effective or be dragged off the bus.
  2. Process Resistance – Another form of fear is the disruption of process improvement. Transformational leaders need to spot the fearful and help them see the benefits of change. If they stall progress to protect their current position, they need to be pulled aside and shown how they can succeed when the organization needs to update or improve processes. Resistance or silent subversion cannot be tolerated.
  3. Culture – This is the way “we do things around here.” Every organization should strive for a Culture of Productivity. When laziness, absenteeism, missed deadlines, relational conflict, lack of respect for others or other such negative factors become embedded in the culture then costs go up, over-staffing occurs and value to customers drops.  Culture then becomes a barrier to success.
  4. Resources including Technology – Failure to equip people with the resources they need to do their jobs well is a huge talent-waster. If leadership expects the people they have hired to do the work and achieve their goals, it must provide everyone on the team with the resources to do quality work in a timely manner. Leaders need to be skilled at understanding every job in the organization and know what resources are needed. If finances are limited then a plan should be put in place to prioritize the most critical resource needs and then acquire those left unfilled as soon as they can reasonably be provided.

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