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Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

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A “glass ceiling” is a metaphor that, taken in its simplest form, represents an invisible barrier to growth. Glass ceilings in business represent barriers to growth. They are invisible because the business owner and/or management team lacks the necessary insight, objectivity or motivation to recognize them. This is especially true when there exists no vision or when there exists satisfaction with current results.  

Breaking through glass ceilings always starts with an acknowledgement of the need for change. All too often, “disruptive forces” in business act as tipping points that facilitate change. Disruptive forces can take many forms: negative cash flow, the inability to consistently achieve top-line growth and difficulties with hiring or retaining good employees. Or, the business owner is working countless hours with little time for the things that matter most. Unfortunately, recognition of the existence of glass ceilings and need for change oftentimes comes too late and at a very high price.

To avoid constraints arising from hitting glass ceilings, businesses must develop a strong strategic foundation i.e. a growth culture shaped by an inspirational vision, driven by goals and an unwavering commitment to solving problems and implementing game changing strategies. Business owners and management teams must also possess a growth mindset. Team members must be aligned in clarity of goals and a commitment to achieving them. Well defined systems for priority setting and getting the right things done in a timely and effective manner must be in place to achieve consistent results.  

Finally, a Scorecard represented by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) acts a barometer of success. KPI trends serve as leading indicators of an approaching glass ceiling. Proactive monitoring and management of KPI trends helps management teams break through glass ceilings or avoid them altogether.

Avoid hitting glass ceilings. Contact me today for valuable insights into habits and processes that will help your business thrive.

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Brian is a business executive turned-entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience across many business functions. He holds a BS Degree in Chemical Engineering from Grove City College and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace College, and certifications from Case Western Reserve University, ActionCOACH, and The DeBono Institute. He is active on non-profit boards, in the Northeast Ohio community, and is a frequent volunteer with various charities and institutes.