Just like a physical injury, if you have a dysfunctional company, you’ll run into big problems sooner than you think.

The word dysfunction means not operating properly, and has been used in medical writing since 1915 to describe parts of the body that are not working correctly. Then in the 1980s, the phrase dysfunctional family came into our vernacular. Now, we talk about a dysfunctional company to understand where functions or roles are not operating the way they should or could for a business to maximize its results.

The Human Body as Integrated Functions

The human body is a perfectly functioning system. If something in the system isn’t working correctly then it impacts all other areas.

The other day while my son and I were walking the dog he asked me, “Dad, are you limping?”

I didn’t realize that I was. My left hip has nearly no cartilage, and my left Achilles tendon is sore from doing burpees, so one of those is certainly the culprit.

For you chiropractors out there, you would predict issues with lower back as everything starts at the ground level and works up. And of course, I am working in a desk chair for much of the day with questionable posture, not because my workstation is not well designed, but because of lazy habits.  I sometimes have a stiff neck, tight back muscles, or other soreness. What is the root cause?

The inability to have full mobility prevents me from being fully able to exercise the way I used to and the way I want to. I am not going on long runs, even though I have multiple marathons under my belt. Wow! It might sound like an excuse but this does contribute to why I’m carrying a little extra weight around my waist line.

You can see how one small part of the system, such as a bum hip, can impact so many other functions.


Your Company Is an Integrated System

Your company is the same way. It is an integrated system where the parts support each other toward its mission and vision. When everything is working correctly, the system functions at its best performance. But, when you have a dysfunctional company, meaning something isn’t operating the way it should, then your performance can suffer across other areas and lower your overall results.

If you have challenges with your sales or marketing, you don’t have customers. if you have challenges with operations, your inability to deliver will make your customers unhappy and your costs will be too high. If your revenue is down and your costs are up, your profits and cash flow will be too low to sustain your business and you will not be able to invest in your people and processes or, worst case, you will go out of business.

Get an Outside Expert’s Perspective

I am writing this while I am on the way to a doctor appointment to address my Achilles tendon. Sure, I can watch youtube videos or go to WebMD to get advice about what to do – and I will stretch, ice, rest, elevate, and do some basic strengthening exercises.  But what if that’s not enough…?  I want the perspective of the best sports medicine doctor around, one who has solved this problem before.

This is probably a relatively easy problem to address as long as I get it now. If I put it off, I might miss the opportunity to enjoy this nice weather to walk, hike, jog, bike, throw the ball around or toss the frisbee.

We will also discuss my hip, which is a bigger issue. I have had support with stem cell and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. These last a few years which has enabled me to do some running and other performance (like pitching live batting practice when I was coaching baseball). I’m grateful this has bought me a few extra years, but now it may require surgery to fix (so a bit more involved).

In both cases, I am looking forward to what I will be able to do after I go through the treatments required to fix the problems. I have always been pretty active and plan to stay that way.

Your company is the same way. You have challenges today – all companies do. Some have been causing you pain and you’ve limped along, or have not performed as you know you should, but you’ve lived with it because your internal team and the institutional knowledge you have can only get you so far.  Go find an expert in the parts of your business that are causing you headaches and get your problems fixed.  You might also find that as you get help to fix the business equivalent of your Achilles tendon, you can also get help with your hip, and furthermore, have a go-to advisor when you pull a muscle.

Figure Out Your Full Potential

Even when everything is working well, you still might not be at your full potential. You might have optimized a suboptimal system and been lulled to complacency because your results have been just fine for years, only to find that some new technology or innovative approach used by a competitor suddenly puts pressure on you as they start stealing your customers.

And, you have aspirations to achieve something greater for your customers or employees. Of course, you have to implement new strategies to stay ahead of your competition and of your customer’s expectations. This brings awareness to new issues to address and solve.

The reality is that it may take an outside perspective and the advice of an expert to guide you through the actions you need to take and to help you navigate getting changes in place. This is the role of my specialist doctor, and is often a role our team plays for business leaders.  Learn what is possible, how to get there, and get support as you try to implement.

Build an Exciting Vision

What can help drive you through this change, this transition, – or this transformation – is for you to look at the return on your investment and to deeply appreciate your potential when you achieve your vision.

Just as I will be able to run and do burpees again soon, you want improvement in your company. You want your:

  • strategies to deliver results and maintain your company’s position in the market,
  • processes to flow seamlessly,
  • team to have focus and clarity and to work productively,
  • leaders to inspire and develop your teams, and
  • company to get outstanding operational and financial results.

Figure out what is getting in the way of your full potential and launch the initiatives to eliminate the dysfunction in your company and then upgrade your capabilities so you can thrive!

5 Tips to Help in the New Normal for Your Business

No matter what you decide, you have a new normal to contend with, as customer demand is variable and unpredictable, and you are likely to have remote working and virtual teams for quite some time. With this in mind, here are 5 tips for you.

  1. Serve your customers remotely. You have a new reality to figure out. You better have a way to offer your products and services remotely, as that is part of your new world.
  2. Embrace virtual teams and remote working. You better have a way to work with virtual teams. This is ongoing, not temporary.
  3. Help your employees to work productively. Yes, employees are more productive working remotely – data pre-pandemic suggested this too. Be grateful the pandemic enabled you to run your own experiment.
  4. Help your employees maintain their sanity. Productivity is only one variable you should care about. Peace-of-Mind matters, and members of your team are struggling.
  5. Be creative and flexible in how you work. If you can be flexible in how you do work through your day, and how you allow your team members to do work, then you can keep your sanity and help your team do the same.