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When to Get Upset? FIVE KEY Questions

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Entrepreneurs should limit the number of issues that upset them to very important events, such as those on this short list.

When to get upset?

1. Did Someone Get Hurt?

If an employee, customer, or anyone associated with your company gets hurt at your business or working for your company, you need to immediately help that person and protect your company by:

  • Getting medical help for whoever was hurt. Fast.
  • Eliminating what caused the injury, to the degree possible, to protect others.
    • While I recognize that sometimes people get hurt through no one’s fault, you need to search for any underlying cause, which may not be obvious.
    • Working with your insurance company and lawyer to reduce potential cost and liabilities.

2. Is Something Missing?

Let’s start with the obvious: Someone is stealing money, equipment or goods. This can be difficult to uncover and even harder to believe when a long-term customer or employee is the culprit.

Often, these problems can best be described as misplaced or omitted with no malicious intent. Important information can be lost in a computer; contract renewals can be overlooked; inventory can be lost in the warehouse…. Each of these can hit the bottom line.

Even less obvious is when processes and positive attitudes are lost.

  • Work no longer gets done efficiently.
  • Turnover increases.
  • Customers are pushed away.

3. Was Something Broken?

You don’t necessarily expend emotional capital because something breaks, which happens. You should get upset, however, when the breakage is something that could have been prevented with better planning, employee training, or had employees followed directions.

“Broken” is similar to “Missing” in that it can be either physical or intangible.

4. Did Someone Break a Law?

The advice seems obvious: If you suspect that you or an employee has broken the law, you must call your lawyer immediately AND likely need to call law enforcement immediately.

Even unintentionally breaking the law could cost you your business and even risk your own freedom.

5. Is Someone Doing Something Stupid?

A CEO I worked with years ago said: “Stupid is forever,” meaning once you conclude an employee is making stupid mistakes and isn’t up to their job, you need to quickly change employees.

  • While sometimes it’s possible to find another more appropriate job in your company for an employee who is struggling, don’t let them continue hurting your company because you have them in a job that they can’t do. This isn’t good for either you or your (soon to be) former employee.

The following quote is equally relevant: Insanity:Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” (Note: This popular quote is attributed to several people.)

Perhaps most importantly, as the owner, if you’re repeating strategies and tactics that haven’t worked previously, then you should get emotional and “yell at yourself” to force change.

Richard-SellersEQlist contributor Richard Sellers is a volunteer counselor for SCORE helping small businesses in upstate New York, Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of the Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. You can follow his communications about marketing, social media, job search and careers at mengonline, shellypalmer and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard and also here on #EQlist ENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS.


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