Preview Thursday - Transform Your Company

Excerpted from Transform Your Company by Alex Vorobieff. Buy your copy today on Amazon or download Alex’s free magazine Confident Roi to learn more about identifying the problem areas in your company and to find the tools and resources to turn your business around.

Paddling in Circles

Paddling a canoe without aligning the efforts of the people in the boat leads to going in circles. Similarly, running a business without coordinating the efforts of the team leads to the circle of frustration.

The circle of frustration is a state in which you’re trying to move your business forward, but instead you keep ending up back where you started—and you don’t know why.

The circle of frustration is a horrible workplace plague. It can choke the life out of you. The longer you stay in it, the more the frustration compounds, and the more drained you and others feel. Worse, it goes home with you, because it is impossible to leave it at the office.

You know you’re trapped in the circle of frustration when you start hearing the same clichés. These are some I hear most often.

Circular logic. “We don’t have time to make the business better until things get better.” This statement alone can keep a company stuck forever.

Blaming the team. “If we had A players, things would be different.” When something goes wrong—the business doesn’t win an account, or a project gets botched—leaders often fall back on the refrain of “I just need A players.” They don’t realize that they do get some A players, but those people tend to get frustrated and leave.

BADJ declarative sentences. When things don’t go according to plan, many leaders stuck in the circle of frustration react with Blame, Anger, Denial, or Justification. They deal with bad news with emotional responses and rarely ask questions to identify the root cause of the problem.

The “next level” delusion. “We need to take this company to the next level.” The problem with this cliché is that there’s no follow-up. No questions such as “How do we find this next level?” or “What is keeping us on this level?”

An imaginary friend: ART. When I went back through all the leaders I dealt with who were stuck in the circle of frustration, I was struck by how many of them had an imaginary friend named ART—what I call their Arbitrary Revenue Target. “If we had this amount in sales, things would change, because then we’d be bigger and we could afford better people and more resources. Then, things would be different.” ART is the offspring of circular logic.

Ten “number one” priorities. “We just can’t get anything done.” When you take a closer look, the leaders who make this statement have ten priorities without a clear one to tackle first. Nothing seems to get done except another round trip in the circle of frustration, usually among promises that they “will get to it.”

Do any of these signs sound familiar?

Think about your canoe for a second. When you bring people on your boat, push off into the river, and find that things aren’t going right, what do you tend to do? Do you dream of a better team or a bigger canoe? Do you question your team’s character? Do you get mad at them? Do you paddle harder? Do you decide to wait until things get better to deal with the real issues?

All of this is a drain on your emotional bank account. Until you can get everyone paddling in the same direction, your company is just going to keep going around in circles.

What are you doing to get off this ride?



Alex Vorobieff is the founder and CEO of The Alex Vorobieff Company, a premier business-transformation company. A highly sought-after speaker and business coach, Vorobieff has transformed scores of multi-million-dollar companies into unstoppable forces using “business alignment tools”—a term he coined after years of working with and investigating different business systems.

In addition to solving thorny business problems, Vorobieff enjoys pursuing his hobby of photography. He lives in Newport Beach, California, with his family.