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Trouble sources in a company are not always spotted immediately because their destructive actions get diffused by the constructive actions of the majority of hard-working people who want to improve conditions. By themselves, they don’t usually get very far. They also don’t always show the true colors at the outset. They may even do some things that are somewhat helpful in the beginning. This can be the main reason they can go undetected as a destructive trouble source. However, there is a common thread of similarities of all the trouble sources I have come across over the years, that is, that the areas they operate in don’t really expand. There will be a trouble source when you have an area within an organization that does not seem to expand in people or production. Good leaders and managers ensure their staff are trained while poor leaders criticize their staff and think about penalizing them or getting rid of them.

Bad leaders often just dramatize how they were brought up, but their actions and inabilities are easy to see and most often can be corrected with training. These are not the trouble sources that I’m talking about.

The ones I’m talking about are the more sinister ones who weave their way into an organization or group with the intention of getting some ownership without having to pay for it. The reason they can’t pay money to buy in is because they usually cannot be creative enough to earn the capital needed to invest.
Although we all have a little desire to be right about things, there are some people who just cannot take any kind of responsibility for their actions and are so blind as to what got them in the situation they get themselves into. They end up causing more and more chaos and disorganization. Some outwardly defend their position and are very vocal about their position and how others are so wrong. The harder ones to detect are those who cause the internal chaos and disorder covertly (underhandedly) and are harder to detect as the true trouble sources. It's never things that cause problems; it's always people. Just as social people resolve problems, what it really comes down to is a total lack of responsibility. They have dwindled down to the point of an inability to be responsible for anyone or anything. The trouble with most social people is their inability to consider the evilness of a minority of society. Social people want others to do well. Anti-social people do not want others to do well; they only can do things that they think will help themselves survive.

The skill of a good manager is in the training of his or her staff and measuring each person's production. Figuring out what each person needs to produce and in what quantities, how to learn the skills required to deliver such products with high morale. Rewarding and caring for the productive staff is the job of the executives and managers. This makes it easier to detect the real trouble sources within the organization quickly as they will do all they can to prevent people from getting good at what they do.

This letter is not an invitation to go on a witch hunt. It is just an effort to point out that when you have implemented a lot of organization and have improved Marketing, Financial Management and made things more efficient and little expansion is occurring. You know you will have someone in the ranks with the brakes on. 


  • Who is talking negatively to others? 

  • Who is saying things such as “it can’t be done,” “no one can do it,” etc.?

  • Who is critical of others? 

  • Who is producing very little? 

  • Whose actual production seems hard to monitor?

Business is not that difficult. When it seems to be so hard to get expansion going, ask the above questions, and it may open the door to resolving the actual situation.

Let me know if this was helpful.

Graham Payne
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Trouble Sources and their strategy: Projects
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