“It’s important to be able to step outside of ourselves and ask, ‘How can we make things better?’” says Sherry Coker, OTC Center for Workforce Development Business Development Director. Coker says sometimes you need an outside perspective to help find the root cause of a problem. Question why your organization does things a certain way. Don’t let ego stand in the way.
- - I was working with a client who was having a hard time identifying why her company was missing some strategic performance goals, including overages on direct and indirect costs, as well as missing deadlines. The individuals responsible for those goals had more than 25 years of experience. So she couldn't figure out why her team was missing these key performance indicators.
I'm Sherry Coker with the OTC Center for Workforce Development. Take a moment to look at these words. What do you see? Do you see opportunity is nowhere? You're right. Take a look again. Now, do you see opportunity is now here? You're right too. Whichever you saw first, you may not have seen the second, if not for an outside perspective. Have you ever done something the same way for so long you stop asking why you've always done it that way? Sometimes our ego gets in the way of making changes to systems or processes that we may have been the ones to create in the first place. It's important to be able to step outside of ourselves and ask, how can we make things better?
Have you stopped asking why we do things? When you can't see the forest for the trees, a third party viewpoint is beneficial. They come in with only questions and no answers. They aren't vested in the way things are. An outside perspective could be someone from another department, a different division, or an outside consultant. Regardless of which you choose, just remember you're looking for a person with a non-biased perspective. Someone who can perhaps frame the problem differently or be able to see that what you see as a root cause, is actually just a symptom.
Let's go back to the example of my client who was not hitting goals for cost controls and deadlines. With our outside perspective, we were able to identify the root cause of the problem as being the reluctance of the individuals with the years of experience to change the way they've always managed projects, which worked fine until the workload increased.
As the workload increased, the way they were doing things before was proving ineffective. Causing the cost overages and delays. We were able to develop a solution that not only trained to the skill of the individual, but as to why this would be an improvement. This was an opportunity to change the perspectives of the professionals to see new ways of increasing their own productivity, and at the same time, the profitability goals of the company.
Even though you might ask yourself a million questions to come up with a solution to the problem, sometimes the most important thing you can seek is help from someone with a different perspective.
The local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness moved; the newest clinic for Burrell Behavioral Health opened; and Prickly Cactus Coffee relocated.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.