Nov 02 2021| Leadership | leaders

The seven symptoms of a sick company and how effective leaders restore good health - Part 4

Part 4 in this series of 7 short articles.

by Phil Eyre Leaders' Founder

4. Productivity Problems

Productivity often suffers in unhealthy companies. Deadlines are missed as standard. Financial results and other measures undershoot expectations. People - and the company as a whole - fail to achieve their full potential.  

There are some exceptions, but these tend to be short lived. We have encountered one very unhealthy environment where the monthly financial results were strong. However, it didn’t take long for the aggressive focus on short-term targets to impact on stability; staff turnover hit 40% over three months, with the result that profitability and service levels cratered.

Healthy companies have a more organic approach to growth. They are growing, certainly, but at a pace and in a way that is sustainable, consistent and with a keen eye on the long term. Leaders of such companies will often give up short-term rewards, recycling resources into the company for future resilience and future returns - even when they might not benefit personally from those returns. The very best manage to achieve some short-term wins at the same time as working towards long-term wins, an approach brilliantly articulated by David Cote, former CEO of global industrial conglomerate Honeywell, in his book Winning Now, Winning Later.

Failing to meet deadlines can also be a symptom of:

  • silo mentality, a failure of the leaders of key business units to work together, support each other and pull together towards shared priorities. This is typically associated with excess ego. 
  • unreasonable deadlines, usually set by a highly energetic chief who’s too dismissive of the realities and risks to listen to others.

Healthy leaders, people and companies are productive in a way that’s sustainable, repeatable and consistent.


To read about the fifth symptom of a sick company, click here.


About The Author | Phil Eyre

Phil is Leaders’ founder. He has an enthusiastic and inspiring style, drawing on his experience in business, academia and social sectors to help any leadership team to achieve phenomenal performance. Phil has significant expertise in sophisticated psychometrics and in the application of human data for individual, team and organisational success. He has trained with and been mentored by, global leaders in this field, notably Dr Chuck Coker in the US. Phil began his career in the UK offshore finance industry in 1994, working for a wealth management company, Canaccord Genuity Wealth International. Phil was head of the company's Guernsey division, with a staff of 120 and assets under management of £4.5billion before resigning from executive responsibilities in 2008. Since launching Leaders in 2017, Phil has worked with many senior executives and boards primarily in the Channel Islands and City of London. He regularly writes for a variety of business publications and is often invited to speak at events for institutions such as the IoD and the British Army. Phil works closely with clients on focussed projects and long-term retainers to raise leadership standards. He is a popular and inspiring educator and coach who, with the insights gained from psychometrics, is able to accurately detect the strengths and weaknesses in leadership teams and boards. Phil has served on the boards of various charities, ran the Guernsey hub of a national theology college, received accreditation as a pastor in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and is accredited in various motivation and behavioural techniques.

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