Squash the Demons that Destroy Organizations– Obstacles, Roadblocks… They Cripple Business…

Obstacles, hurdles, roadblocks… are inevitable and they occur in every phase of a business, regardless of planning, preparation, strategy… These foreseen, or more often unforeseen demons can cripple or even destroy organizations if not managed properly.

The word demon may sound a bit extreme, but when considering the amount of torment they inflict, they have a devilish overtone… Every organization runs into obstacles, roadblocks… and the list can seem endless but the key is not that they occur; its how an organization deal with them and what it does to overcome them. When confronted with an obstacle, worst thing you can do is to deny that it exists; it must be acknowledged, accepted, engaged…

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Creative and critical thinking is built on the foundations of obstacles and organizations have dealt with them throughout the course of human history. In fact, without obstacles there would be no need for creative or critical thought… At times you find it difficult to overcome certain obstacles because you are simply unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices that would successfully overcome the issue…

Sometimes it’s not what you do, but rather what you ‘let go of’ that can have the greatest impact on the organization… Often obstacles are a necessary part of achieving a vision and every vision ultimately encounters opposition… when it does not, it probably means the vision isn’t big enough. The lesson learned is simple; the greatest opportunities are always interlocked with the most difficult– struggles, obstacles, roadblocks….

In the article Leadership Behavior Is Obstacle to Innovation, Creativity by Michelle M. Smith writes: The free flow of ideas is essential for keeping an organization competitive, and it’s at the heart of building employee buy-in and getting them to take ownership of both their own work and company’s purpose… More often than not– of all obstacles that can thwart innovation and creativity in the workplace– the main culprit is leadership…

While leaders may not intentionally mean to squash innovation restrictive behavior at times, may prevent employees from feeling free to act imaginatively, or to openly express ideas… According to Pamela McClinton; foundation of leadership rests on anticipation; anticipating risks, anticipating rewards, anticipation obstacles… For sure there will be unforeseen circumstances that pop-up out of nowhere… But real measure of leadership is how leaders overcome– obstacles, roadblocks…

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In the article Overcoming Obstacles in Business by Ed McCulloch writes: One difference between people who succeed in the pursuit of dreams and the ones who fail is– how well they overcome obstacles… Everybody in life is confronted with obstacles and no one is immune to it… Sometimes obstacles are small and sometimes they are huge but the main fact is that they exist and most can be overcome… In this sense, business is no different from life: When you are confronted with a– big wall, or mountain, or endless sea… you must find a way– around it, or over it, or even through it– there’s always a way, even though it may not seem like it at the time…

An example: James Dyson had an idea to redesign and reinvent the vacuum. His idea of a bag-less vacuum was something that had never been done before… James took his idea to the Hoover company and they just laughed, scoffed at him… So James started his own company and now Dyson vacuum is the number one selling brand in Europe, holds 20% market share over vacuums in the U.S., and 92% of Dyson owners would recommend the Dyson vacuum to a friend… There are many examples of all sorts of organizations that would not be denied, and they overcame all types of obstacles through; commitment, discipline, resilience, patience…

In the article Overcome Challenges in Business by Matt Lloyd writes: No matter what you do in life, whether it’s trying to reach a fitness goal or building a successful business, you will always be faced with challenges… And as you achieve success the obstacles will only get bigger… But the resiliency that you gain from battling and overcoming the many obstacles, hurdles, roadblocks… prepares you to combat them much easier in the future…

Accept the fact that you will always face obstacles in business and that makes it easier to face them as they arise… And although challenges arise when you least expect them– even when you are going through good times, always be prepared with ‘what if’ scenarios for when things don’t go as planned… Always know that most obstacles can result in something positive; obstacles are part of growth

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In the article Overcome Common Business Obstacles by Gayle Lantz writes: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but that’s not how you go about growing a business… The path is never straight; sometimes it’s curvy, sometimes it’s blocked… Sometimes the obstacle is clear, sometimes it’s unforeseen… Sometimes obstacles are challenges, sometimes they are opportunities… It very much depends on the situation and the people involved… However one thing is clear, to proceed you must focus on what you can control, and usually you have more power and control than you think…

The challenge is how do you deal with the obstacle, e.g.; remove it, go through it, around it, over it… in some situation it may be obvious and in other not so much… Many obstacles occur when an organization has not developed a clear path to follow… They are stuck doing the ‘same old thing’ because that’s the way it’s always been done… Essentially, the same old path is now the wrong path… Hence, it’s time to forge a new path, which will have new obstacles but again your level of success will depend on how you overcome these obstacles…

In the article Obstacles and How to Overcome Them by Henri Junttila writes: The best way to move forward is to understand, before hand, the potential obstacles that you might encounter and plan in advance for them (‘what ifs’)… Most organizations are filled with challenges, obstacles, roadblocks… and it’s during these disruptions that it’s the best and worst of times; the worst because you get discouraged and feel like the journey is not really worth it… and, the best because during these frustrating times you are often on the verge of a breakthrough… Business is cyclic with obstructions that come and go; it’s the ebb and flow of business…

A key business management practice is ‘management by goals’… and most people are reward for achieving their ‘goals’… Yes, having goals is fantastic and essential, but when business become overly attached to specific goals, then sometimes bad things can happen… Too much attachment sometimes engenders angry, frustration… and too much attachment ‘to goals’ muddles clarity– when goals are inflexible the organization can get lost in the journey… Yes, it feels great to hit a milestone but if you do not replace that goal with another one, you will soon end-up in a dead-end… Hence, it’s no so much the goal, it’s the journey… and more important it’s the ‘obstacles’ along the journey that you learn, grow, become better… the goals are just stops along the way…

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So what are the major obstacles that impacts– success, sustainability of an organization? Clearly that depends on the organization and many other factors; but if you wanted to start a list you might consider things, such as; leadership, or vision, or culture, or talent, or resources, or competition, or technology, or change, or adaptability, or  innovation… (it’s a long list)…

But truth be told the ‘biggest’ obstacle in any organization is simply– fear; fear-to-move-beyond-fear: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of competition, fear of technology, fear of change… and the parade of fears marches on, each one distinct, yet all dancing to the beat of the same drummer… It’s important to remember that fear is not the enemy; fear is actually a friend; it keeps you safe… humans are hardwired for fear, because it’s necessary for survival…

The real enemy isn’t fear; it’s ‘misplaced’ fear that has the potential to cause damage. By consistently facing fears, it breaks the fear avoidance cycle that causes paralysis, which is root of most obstacles in business…