By Chuck Violand

July 20, 2015

When it comes to the underlying causes that lead to hiding out, some of them run deep and can be difficult to identify. I’ll start with one of the easiest to address.

Lack of knowledge. We don’t know what we’re supposed to measure or how to address difficult situations.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are used to measure activities or important benchmarks in business. While there is no set number of KPIs in any industry, every industry has a handful of them that are crucial to efficient business performance. These ultimately lead to a company’s growth and profitability. KPIs exist in every area of the business. It’s critical that an owner learn which are important to the profitable operation of his business and work together with his leadership team to achieve them.

Addressing difficult situations where you have a lack of knowledge can be a little more challenging because it involves the characteristics of the person doing the addressing. Some of the best advice I’ve heard on this subject involves placing the facts surrounding a contentious situation ON the table, not UNDER it. This forces the facts to clearly face the light of day where everyone involved can discuss them openly. Hiding out from the facts never solves anything. Keeping things bottled up inside only allows for one-sided conversations, frequently breeds resentment, and rarely has a positive outcome.

We avoid the measurable. It’s one thing not to know what needs to be measured in a business. It’s another thing altogether to be aware and hide out from doing so.

It’s only natural that, since many business owners avoid confrontation, they would also avoid measuring KPIs. After all, measuring something implies doing something about it if it doesn’t measure up. So, by not measuring, we’re able to side step the unpleasant task of confronting someone or something about unacceptable results. Of course, simply avoiding something doesn’t make it disappear.

Weakness. Perhaps the great bard, William Shakespeare, stated it best when he wrote, “Fatigue doth make cowards of us all.” Running a business can be exhausting. Long hours and infrequent breaks can wear down the most energetic business owners.

Physical fatigue is only one form of weakness that causes us to hide out. An even greater cause is mental and emotional fatigue. When you’re the owner of a business, all the decisions within your company ultimately come back to you. As a business grows and the owner finds himself in unfamiliar territory, it’s easy for him to question his competence. Similarly, when a business struggles for survival for an extended period of time, the mental fatigue can be exhausting.

Many of us learn early on that we’re better off not making decisions or having difficult conversations when we’re tired. While this philosophy might serve us well when it’s used occasionally, defaulting to it as a strategy to hide out from important decisions will eventually take a toll on our companies.

In Part IV of this series, we’ll take a look at some more of the underlying causes of hiding out and the consequences to your business when doing so.