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In Business: Take Care Of The Problem, Not The Symptom

When sick with symptoms of the classic flu – fever, sore throat, upset stomach, achy all over – you often take over-the-counter medication to relieve such uncomfortable symptoms. The remedy isn’t a cure for the flu; it only temporarily alleviates or masks how otherwise you would be feeling – which would probably be pretty lousy. In order to recover from the flu you usually are instructed to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Don’t forget the chicken soup either! With proper care, you generally get better in a relatively short amount of time and are back to work feeling like your productive, successful self again. When you do get back to work, as things come across your desk, have you ever asked yourself: How did this happen?! Or… Where did this problem come from?! For success, it’s key to take care of yourself and the business.


Let’s apply the analogy of experiencing the flu directly to business.

With proper attention, a business can run smoothly – but only if you, the CEO, president or business owner, is consistently addressing and resolving the problems rather than putting a temporary bandage on the symptoms. When issues are not brought to the surface in a timely manner they fester like an open wound. If not given proper physical attention an infection can set in. Which only creates a more serious problem. Again, the same is true in business: A problem not dealt with will only grow bigger and potentially become more unmanageable. If ignored, will threaten all you’ve worked for.

Then what do you do?!

Business Problem Solution

Let’s look at what leaders of companies may experience when facing a symptom and acknowledging it is a business problem:


Symptom: Not knowing. Problem: Hiding Behind The Desk. CEOs, presidents and business owners cannot sit at their desks and expect business to happen. Sounds like a common sense statement yet everyday company leaders face this type of situation.  Remaining in the office selectively permits one to not know what is going on. The adage ‘no news is good news’ isn’t applicable here. The more you know and are involved with your business the better. Business leaders need to:

  • walk around the office
  • visit clients
  • talk to employees
  • hold impromptu meetings
  • pick up the phone rather than endlessly email
  • be kept informed on a timely basis by key company people.

If the company head is not visible and asking questions, how can others be expected to do or even understand their proper roles?


Solution: Those who sit behind their desks often get too wrapped up with concerns that do not drive the business. To move a business forward establish sales goals and know the daily-weekly-monthly sales results. Be sure to interact with all personnel, suppliers, outsourced services and most importantly, customers. Otherwise, leaders become reactive rather than proactive. Decision makers are not really running the company but rather the company is running them. The last thing you continually want to encounter are business situations where you say: I didn’t know… When that happens, ask yourself: Why didn’t I know?


Let’s next look at a company’s most important asset – its people.


Symptom: Productivity. Problem: Employee controls situation. Here’s two examples: A high producing sales person brings in the dollar volume but doesn’t abide by company standards or ethics. Others in the same department try to do it the company way and work as a team. The situation causes constant conflict as the group members feel the volume-producing individual is not fully participating or accepting of responsibilities. The others then must pick up the slack and this creates a friction among everyone. Yet because this individual brings in a lot of sales the tendency is to overlook. This situation can only continue to snowball and cause upheaval in the department, which will ultimately take away from potential sales totals and loss of good employees. This example can also apply to other areas of a company such as the production line or accounting.


On the other hand, you may have a long-time employee who does a good job but is set in various ways as to how he/she goes about things or thinks things should be done. The employee has not progressed with the changing times or the evolution of the company. The tendency is to just let the employee keep on doing what they have always done even though it no longer fully serves the company. Not addressing the issues doesn’t improve a company’s bottom line or employee morale throughout the organization. Consider what sort of example it sets for others when they are encouraged to progress within their job responsibilities yet witness others whom it appears the same rules do not apply.


Solution: In both cases, the employees need to be made aware of how individual attitudes and productivity affect the company. The employees think they are doing a good job when the reality is that they actually are not. Situations like these are commonplace and need to be recognized and addressed early on. Otherwise, it creates a multitude of other problems such as complacency, animosity and unnecessary turnover. Employees level of respect and trust for you will diminish as they question whose side you are really on and why. The impression will be that you are protecting one but sacrificing many others including company principles and rules.


A profitable business cannot run on autopilot. It takes vision and being able to imagine situations in fast forward. A successful business is worked at and fine-tuned on a day-by-day basis.

  • Train employees at all levels.
  • Keep equipment up-to-date and functioning.
  • Pay attention to the details.
  • Be visible and out there rather than behind the desk.

Companies weaken when leaders turn their heads away rather than face the constant barrage of problems head on. No problem is too small that it should be swept under the rug, so to speak.

Everyday competitors are ready to snatch up your business. They can be like big cats, lions and tigers, who stalk the weak as prey. A company becomes vulnerable when operating in a ball of confusion. Don’t let that happen to your business.

Remember: Take care of the business problem not just the symptom for your personal well-being and that of the company. You are in control of your business destiny.

When you apply the business practices outlined in this article not only will your company improve but you’ll be feeling better too!


To your success!


Business expert and strategist, Howard Lewinter, guides, focuses and advises CEOs, Presidents and Business Owners to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Helping business leaders to make significant, lasting improvements to ultimately ensure a company thrives. Get MORE from your business! Talk business with Howard: 888-738-1855.








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