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Is Your Organization Experiencing ROT?

By Joey Havens

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CeCe, did you check with Kris or someone to see about helping me move this furniture? Sometimes, we have capacity issues, and it reminds me of the ROT concept that I introduced to our firm over ten years ago.  

As I interact with various organizations and business owners today, I think understanding the disruption caused by this concept could help any organization prepare for our fast-changing world.  

Most organizations and businesses face capacity issues as locating and onboarding talent becomes more challenging. With significant growth, the capacity issue for any organization can become crippling.  When you have capacity issues, most of the time, you will also experience ROT, which stands for challenges around retention, opportunities and training. 

If we don’t understand the challenge of ROT and address it aggressively, especially in periods of growth, an organization can begin to ROT. The decay eliminates the ability to become a high-performance team.

The “R” stands for retention, as when we have insufficient capacity, retention always suffers in the long run. We lose people because their flexibility in how, when and where they work dwindles.  Important personal commitments and goals begin to take a back seat to extended hours or limited flexibility.  Certainly, team members experience more stress and have a hard time seeing an end to the capacity issues.  This stress can cause people to search for better flexibility with other companies. Unfortunately, many times the increased workload however defined, lands on the organization’s best team members.  They are the ones that usually pick up the rope first, or that management goes to for a “temporary solution.”  Limited capacity works too few people, too long and too hard.  As the capacity issues linger, team members begin to look elsewhere for opportunities.  If they are being limited in their growth at work because there’s no time to learn new things, the disenchantment spreads faster.   

“O” stands for opportunities, and they are precious. When we are stretched with limited capacity, we miss opportunities right in front of us because we do not have the time, energy or strategic vision to see them and cultivate them.  Even when we have team members cultivating new opportunities or services, organizations with limited capacity fail to respond quickly or adequately to capture the new opportunity. Busy season itself kills many golden opportunities as team members are deployed with a head down, let’s get this done approach. How much growth can we even do if we are operating at insufficient capacity with our present level of work?  Limited capacity will, in the long run, result in poor execution and, thus, bad experiences for customers and clients.  This ROT reduces future opportunities.   

The “T” stands for training. Capacity issues generally lead to cutting time invested in training. We can’t afford to train now as we need everyone focused on production. Reduced training leads to mistakes, repetitious work and overall feelings of being overwhelmed.  

What are some of the ways, organizations can address ROT? Anticipating future growth and hiring ahead of securing the opportunities. Leadership connecting and transparently communicating present capacity issues and the solutions being deployed. Listening closely to team members and making exceptions where warranted for people to have the flexibility to move their personal lives forward also.  Prioritizing training that increases effectiveness and reduces long-term resources needed. Strategically identifying what the organization needs to stop doing. Saying “no” to marginal work is critical to keep capacity manageable for the long run. Keeping antennas up for opportunities that provide more opportunities for team members and better profitability. Developing confidential feedback loops to help understand where team member mindsets are. Looking for processes and tasks that can be automated or outsourced. 

ROT is real and organizations can move past these speed bumps by being more anticipatory, investing sooner in resources for the future as well as implementing a robust training program to address the learning curve that our exponential world has thrust upon us.  

CeCe, Did Kris say when he was coming over?  I want to finish this so I can go fishing this afternoon.

“If you were to anticipate how strong a company’s culture needs to be to transform and thrive in the future, Joey Havens paints a beautiful horizon in his book Leading with Significance.”  Daniel Burrus  

Grab your copy of Leading with Significance to find more magnetic insights to help you on your unique journey. 

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