Have you ever went to visit someone and when you walked in the door you were hit by an odor of epic proportions? Your first instinct is to say, “Wow, it stinks in here.” But being the nice person that you are, instead you stroll through the stench exchanging pleasantries. The homeowner, on the other hand, is oblivious to the smell acting as if there is only the scent of roses in the air. “How can this be?” you ask yourself. “This person is a totally normal human being outside these walls. How on earth can they stand the smell in here?” The answer is they got used to it and they really just don’t smell it anymore. Kind of like that Febreeze commercial: They went nose blind!

So, I ask you this, does your business stink? Have you gotten used to all of the issues and problems that occur on a daily basis? Are you getting mounting complaints about your service? Do your employees have bad morale? Do you write it all off by saying things like: “My employees just don’t have any common sense” or “All my customers do is constantly complain about every little thing” or “I’m the only one around here who can fix things; everyone else is really good at breaking my equipment.” If so, your business probably does in fact stink to high heaven.

The thing is you can’t even see it because it has happened very slowly over time. Think about it like this: In my scenario about the stinky house, the smells probably built up over time. Had a skunk wandered in the door, the owner would have smelled it immediately. It’s the same with your business. Maybe it started when you had an employee show up late over and over. At first you probably tried to talk to them, ask them what the problem was and try to help them get to work on time or just get to work at all. But over time they wore you down and you started to get angry and resentful that people weren’t respecting you or your business.

Ditto for the customers: You used to be able to handle the complaints and were even eager to fix the customers’ issues. But then there were some who would withhold payment or maybe not even pay you at all. Others would send cocky emails with snide remarks about you and your business. After a while this wore you down and you figured that your customers just really didn’t value you or your business, so you figured you would repay them with a bad attitude or maybe not even respond at all to their complaints.

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The scary part about all of this is that if your business really does “stink,” other people already know it. They have known it for a long time, but you just can’t tell because it has built up slowly within your organization. Just like the homeowner, you can’t smell a thing.

So don’t be nose blind, my friends. If you have these problems, most likely everyone who comes in contact with your organization will smell it right away, that stinking smell of a company who lost its way and stagnated into a composting pile of problems that permeate the very air around you. It’s time to get your head out of the sand, get to work and fix the problems. Next month, we will talk about what can be done to deodorize your business.