PLATEAUS HAPPEN FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS–EGOS, SILOS, ETC.
By Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
What does the word ‘plateau’ stir up for you? Chances are it’s not positive. Just like those in the fitness space, plateauing- or essentially pausing in progress―is never welcomed. However, following this analogy, most fitness experts would explain that the plateau has more to do with the body becoming aware of the current routine- and in essence, asking for more. The same goes for plateauing in business―it’s simply an opportunity to revamp and do more. According to one prominent authority in leadership I’ve spoken with recently, “plateaus are a time to regroup and reevaluate what is happening. They are completely natural in business and aren’t a bad thing- especially if you make the most from it.” So how do you make the most of this time? Here are 3 ways to power through a company plateau:
ASSESS YOUR CURRENT SITUATION
Almost without exclusion every company will experience some version of a plateau throughout their existence. For some it results in revamping the brand, for others it’s about generating new avenues for sales. Hitting the plateau, however, should not be the focus- or fear- and instead, taken as an opportunity to reassess what is currently happening within your organization. The question isn’t ‘how do we get out of it?’ but instead, ‘what do we learn from it?’
MAKE ROOM FOR CHANGE
Plateaus happen for a number of reasons- egos, silos, etc., but perhaps the most significant indicator is a company that has refused change. With a continuously evolving world, CEOs must always be thinking about the next steps and ways to improve. While change is less comfortable, it also opens up greater avenues for opportunities. “A plateau period is the perfect time to ask yourself what the customers are expecting, what should come next and what the next generation of your products or services should be.” It’s not just about changing your products and services for an external overhaul, however, but also revamping from the inside out. If things aren’t working, it’s time to take a look at your systems, as well, “leaders are stepping away from big processes and instead working to cultivate places for talent to grow. This should be a focus always―and especially when in need of change.”
AVOID MAKING IT WORSE
“When results start slowing, we start blaming people and taking less chances- but that’s the opposite of what we want to do. People want to collaborate and be inspired, so continue to empower them to do those things and you’ll get through the plateau period.” To her point, companies must make the conscious effort to not exacerbate the situation by ignoring opportunities and diminishing the energy throughout the culture. By maintaining a level-headed approach, there’s no doubt that the momentary plateau will correct itself when handled properly. Ultimately, it’s about understanding that necessity of bringing new ideas to the table―you never know where those very ideas may take your company.