The Elusive ‘Silver Bullet’

Take a good, hard look at the attached picture.'Silver bullet' quick-fixes to complex business problems don't exist.


Because it’s probably the only time in your life you’re actually going to see a silver bullet.

Why should you care, why is it important?

Because a ‘silver bullet’ is a term used to describe a solution to a complex business problem; which can be implemented quickly, with very little cost or effort; and which will deliver the desired results, immediately, at the first attempt.

How often have you seen one of those? Have you ever actually seen one?

I haven’t. In fact I believe silver bullets simply don’t exist.

Yet some of the business owners we meet expect us to be able to produce them. And some consultants are foolish enough to let their clients believe that they can produce them. Needless to say, we’re not amongst them.

The need for a silver bullet often arises when a management team has been unable or unwilling to solve a fundamental problem with the way in which their company has always made money.

The management team hasn’t suddenly become incompetent – but they have become ineffective.

They have actively addressed the situation but have typically only tackled the symptoms. For example:

• Sales drop so they implement sales force improvement and lead generation programs – without understanding that the products or services they’ve been selling successfully for the last 30 years are being replaced by a new technology.
• They acquire a new technology and sell and support it using the same people and processes they used with the old one – because the people have been loyal and the processes have always worked.

As a result, the first ‘solution’ they try doesn’t work so they try another, then another – wasting money and, more importantly, time. Nothing works and the slide continues.

By the time the fundamental problem is recognized, the level of frustration being experienced by the owner and management team may, by itself, be driving the desire for a ‘quick fix’.

Or sales may be down to a point at which layoffs and cutbacks have started because cash is tight.

Either way, the pressure is on.

So, while the owner and management team may understand the far-reaching, intensive changes that are required, they can’t or won’t accept that those types of changes can’t be made quickly or easily. They expect, for example:

• Employees who have been doing the same thing, in the same way for many years to adapt to a completely new process with minimal training.
• To be able to acquire lists of qualified leads or prospects for new products and new markets.

Those are ‘silver bullets’ which go far beyond being elusive because they simply don’t exist.


If you enjoyed this post you’ll also enjoy Adaptive Strategy – A Way To Profits In The New Normal?

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Tags: adapt, business owners, change, consultants, cutbacks, downturn, Jim Stewart, Leadership, management, People, problems, processes, ProfitPATH, quick fixes, results, silver bullet, solutions, strategy, training

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