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ways to sabotage your company

3 Ways to Sabotage Your Business

You know your business can achieve more, but you also know you are being roadblocked. 

What is getting in your way? 

A myriad of factors, but in the end, they all boil down to you. 

In other words, you sabotage your business by the choices you make and don’t make. 

Sometimes, you are aware of the way you bottle-neck your business, and other times, you are unaware, because it is more of a blind spot.

I hope this article helps you understand the some categories of behaviors that owners, CEOs, and founders tend to sabotage their businesses with. And that you find some practical ways to help yourself stop these non-productive behaviors. 

I want for you to experience the success and happiness that comes from a business that thrives and scales due to smooth operating systems within your business. 

Why Should You Listen to Me? 

First, let me introduce myself—I am an entrepreneurial and executive coach and therapist (and business owner myself) who has spent over 30 years helping others reduce their self-sabotage so that they can reach their next level of success and freedom in both their lives and their businesses. 

Each of us are masters at self-sabotage in our own unique ways. 

The following article will draw attention to several possible ways to sabotage your business, in the hopes that you can recognize these behaviors and commit to make some changes toward more rewarding behaviors! 

1. Hiring the wrong people / Not firing the right people.

    • Failing to fire someone. 
    • promoting someone, rather than dealing with their bad behavior. 
    • Hiring family / friends.

It is not uncommon for founders and entrepreneurs to hire family members or friends. Initially, this feels awesome, because the relationship are warm and you don’t have the “get to know you” period of time that makes hiring a new person difficult. Usually you trust the person. What could go wrong?

But often something does go wrong and when it comes time to fire them, many owners feel like they can’t. Sometimes these owners are just nice and they feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility for their employees families, which is good, however, not at the expense of their company.

Often you find that a “bad” employee will drive out the “good” employees. Learning how to set standard of performance metrics and then actually ending a person’s employment with your company will prevent a form of sabotage that, curiously, is fairly common in the companies that I have coached in. 

I think that there is difficulty knowing what is the right course of action vs doing the right course of action. A leader in self-development, Brendon Burchard said often, “Common sense is not common practice.” I couldn’t agree more.  Many owners / CEOs that I have coached have said to me, “I know I need to fire them, but I can’t because of ‘x’.” Later, after they finally DO fire them, they said, “Why did I wait SO long?”

I have seen people who need to be fired cost the company tens of thousands of dollars before they are cut loose.  Be honest: is this one of the ways you sabotage your business?

Promoting the wrong people

Under NO circumstance should you promote the person with the bad behavior just to get rid of them! This is a space where the owner / CEO has to have the foresight and backbone to do the hard thing, so that the company can thrive. (And so that the other employees are not incredibly frustrated with the poor management). Unfortunately, this is incredibly common in larger corporations and governmental agencies. Don’t let it be true of your own company.

In short, do not hire relatives without some clear guidelines as to how you will keep nepotism out of your corporate structure. Make it clear to yourself and to them what their standard of performance is and keep your compensation of them the same as others in your company working similar positions. There is no better way to create unrest in your company than to treat family and friends differently than your other employees.

Cue The Office where Michael Scott hires and then won’t fire his nephew…

Ways to sabotage your business—scene from the office

2. Poor Leadership is a key way to sabotage your business

Even if you are a company of ONE, you can still practice and exhibit good leadership in your company. Especially when you are a solo-preneur, it is easy to make excuses and foster bad habits. Later, as you add more people to your team, the infrastructure of clear leadership is not in place to help you and others succeed in your company. Start living now they way you wish to live when you have a larger company, in terms of leadership.

When a leader does a poor job of leading, the whole company does not achieve its potential and team members become frustrated, sometimes even to the point of looking for other employment.

What employees want from their leader

As I have coached other corporate teams, I have observed that people want a couple of basic things. Namely, the ability to grow and learn new skills and advance within the company or their field. Additionally, they want low drama and a non-toxic work environment. Finally, they want clarity of priorities and the ability to feel like their time and efforts count toward something.

With the absence of any of these three qualities, your employees will feel less satisfied and be more likely to search elsewhere for their employment.

Leadership on a larger scale

If you have ever wondered why there are so many books on leadership, it is because it is a dense and complicated subject with many facets. No two companies are alike and each needs something slightly different from their leader at each growth stage. However, there are some common aspects of leadership that are consistent across all companies, regardless of size.

Clarity of Vision / Clarity of the Next Actions

An owner / founder has to be crystal clear about what they are trying to accomplish within their company. If an owner has difficulty visualizing success, he or she will struggle to communicate their vision well.

The human brain is pretty good at figuring out the “how” once it knows the “what.” However, depending on the kind of brain you have, figuring out the “what” may come easy to you, or it may be quite difficult. Some people are wired to see the vision and others are wired to see the “nuts and bolts” of how to get there. You need both kinds of people in your company.

Once your vision is in place, then the actions take shape. I know several business owners that delay important choices by over analyzing or finding other less important things to focus on. The net effect is that they put off key decisions and hamstring the forward momentum of their company.

As a leader, you have to focus you and your team on the things that will take your company to its next logical level.

Feedback and growth

Here is a sabotage landmine: Not recognizing your weaknesses. Or being told about them, and not accepting the feedback. Any time someone does not try to improve or to work around their weakness—this is a key failure of leadership.

Sadly, I know of several CEOs where are not very open to the feedback of their team members. As a result, with one in particular, the company is losing potential revenue because of the high turnover of employees. The team members don’t respect the way the owner leads.

Additionally, hire for your weakness, and work like crazy to grow. If an owner struggles with having negative self-critical thoughts, there is a good chance that the over all ethos and culture of the company will be less positive. Motivation may come from fear, rather than desire to succeed. After a while, people hate coming to work and then the internal structure of the business begins to fail.

As a side note: part of good leadership involves praise and celebration of wins. Whether the work of our employees or ourselves. Positivity is extremely important for the morale of the team.

Not taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally

I’m not going to elaborate on this topic, because there is SO much being written about this. However, it goes without saying that when you don’t take care of yourself, your team sees this and they model after you. If you work 100 hour work weeks, then they think it is expected of you. If you work through lunch, they will too. If you eat junk food, they will too. Being a leader is a bit like being a parent. And the “do as I say, not as I do” motto just does not fly. People model what they see. Give them something worthwhile to model after.

Robert Iger, CEO of Disney

I am reading The Ride of a Lifetime; Lessons learned from 15 years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Here are several of the principles that Robert Iger lives by:

        • Optimism
        • Courage
        • Focus
        • Decisiveness
        • Curiosity
        • Fairness
        • Thoughtfulness
        • Authenticity
        • The relentless pursuit of perfection

Your leadership principles don’t have to be his, but you DO have to be clear on what you are working toward within yourself. Failure to do so is one of the ways you sabotage your business. Also, as a side note, check out this article on ways women sabotage themselves at work.

3. Poor Management of Tasks

Procrastinating what needs to be done

Especially in a new or young business, where you may be a solo-preneur, focusing on activities that may be summed up as “busy work” may prevent you from working on the activities that will move your business forward, like the generations of leads and sales.

It is easy to get into the habit of responding first to the “loudest” noise, as opposed to the most important action to move your business forward.

Sometimes, it is difficult to identify the next step that will move the machinery of your business forward. For example, which is more important: networking with other entrepreneurs or checking in with the the national or financial new? Do you really need to check in with your social media accounts again? Check in with your email once more? Often, I find that entrepreneurs do these behaviors in an effort to feel busy and like they are accomplishing high things, but in reality, it keeps them from having to do the difficult lifting of the activities that will really move their business forward, like creating a lead magnet or pushing into hiring a sales person.

Here are a couple other ways to sabotage your time management: Allowing constant interruptions. Letting outside influences disturb your workflow. Constantly worrying about what could go wrong.

Not Delegating

When you are a solo-preneur, you have to do everything. But at some point, you absolutely have to outsource work. Speaking from experience, it is difficult to trust someone else with tasks you know you can do faster and better. It takes a lot of work to train someone.

However, the truth of the matter is that you cannot be everywhere at once and failure to build a good team of employees mean that your business will not scale and you will hit a revenue ceiling.

We kid ourselves that we are brilliantly multi-tasking, instead of realizing that we are engaged in high-paced and inefficient task-switching. We fool ourselves by thinking we will not burn out. We delude ourselves by thinking we are succeeding as we work all the time.

At some point, you have to recognize that others can do some tasks as well as you can—and sometimes even better. Learn to delegate. Failure to do so ensures that you sabotage your business for a while longer.

In Summary

This article could be a book! There are endless ways to sabotage your business. However, these are the low-hanging fruit.

      • If you truly work on hiring (and firing) the right people,
      • Exercising your leadership skills
      • And utilizing your time well

You will see your company grow and reach that next level you have been hungering after.

I have found with the companies I have coached, that it is difficult to reach these goals alone. Sometimes, it is nice to have someone else in your corner, on your team, cheering you on and providing that feedback that is so necessary for growth. If you would like to explore that, reach out to me and let’s have a conversation about how coaching can help you and your company succeed.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you look at the above list and find these ideas helpful in the functioning and success of your business, consider hiring LeaveBetter for some additional coaching. There are many other questions like these in key realms of business development that are strategic to the ongoing development of your business and life.

Reach out to me and we can get started working on that, or on your personalized Life Plan. As a certified coach and therapist, this is what I do best: helping people like you achieve the skills you need to reach your next level in your business and life.