The Glass Ceiling Myth

photo of breaking through glass ceiling

A whopping two-thirds of businesses in Australia generate annual revenue below $200,000 and employ fewer than five people. (Ref. ABS surveys)

Why is this? In some cases it’s because the owner prefers it that way. Happy to be the boss and the employee at the same time, but that certainly isn’t the norm. Most long for a business which delivers the freedom and flexibility they set out to build when they first got started. One that rewards them with an enviable lifestyle for the hard work and risk they take on every day. A lifestyle inclusive of overseas travel, time to spend with the most important people in their life, new cars, lovely home and other occasional indulgences. So what holds them back?

Well I believe that I can safely say that most people would agree with me when I say that business can only grow to the extent of its weakest link. So that being accepted as the truth let’s investigate that statement and see how it applies to you and your own situation. The coin graphic included on this page outlines the 4 spheres of any business, Marketing/Sales, Operations, Finance and the most often overlooked… Leadership.

No sphere is any more or less important than the other when it comes to owning a great business that is capable of supporting your aspirations, but what is important is the level of consciousness of the expectations and performance of each of the spheres. Without this basic understanding a business will quite simply languish, or even go backwards.

Ask any business owner to be completely honest with themselves and the majority will openly acknowledge that they lack the depth of understanding necessary in one, maybe two or possibly even 3 of the spheres. Amazingly very few will equate this with the frustrations of an underperforming business and instead will usually put it down to the less confronting “outside influences”.

There are countless business success stories out there from business owners who for many years believed their growth and success were capped due to perceivably “hitting a glass ceiling”, and with no way past frustration suddenly spilt over. Faced with a moment of truth they finally realise there was no glass ceiling, just a few obvious constraints holding them back, and by eliminating each of them one by one the business was released to achieve higher heights.

The analogy that best makes this point is the hot air balloon. If you have ever taken the opportunity to take a joy flight in a balloon you will know that when the hot air is pumped in and the envelope filled all it wants to do is take off. What holds it back from going skyward? Well I can assure you it’s not an imaginary ceiling, but instead a set of moderately tensioned ropes that are tethered tightly to the ground acting as the constraints.  

If you’re like the majority who come to the conclusion that as the leader of the organisation (big or small) you lack an equal understanding of the 4 spheres then what do you do next? First  of all give yourself a pat on the back for acknowledging it. Secondly, set about discovering where the strengths and weaknesses lay and then create a plan to build on the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses. Although it sounds simple enough there is a bunch of free tools and a process which when followed will ensure a much higher rate of success.

If you would like these resources please visit our website at www.actionvictoria, and you can gain access to them by going to “free business resources/tools” section.

So now it’s back to you. Just as the tethers act as the constraints for the hot air balloon you must take the time to find and unravel yours so you can allow your business soar to the heights you have always longed for. Be aware of procrastination though, because nothing will change unless you do something different.  Yyou have little to lose but so much more to gain.

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It’s irrefutable that accountability (coaching) works, particularly when it comes to elevating an individual’s (or organisation’s) performance to match their potential and gain a higher rate of achievement. Don’t go fooling yourself in believing you can do it by yourself. If you could have you would have.