How do you manage a business successfully?
I had a general manager once tell me it is very tough to steer a ship of about 500 people. He said, “You want to apply pressure and keep the boat moving, but you don’t want to apply so much pressure that everyone leaps to the bow or stern and the boat tips over.”
Strategic Goal Consensus
Developing a Strategy for a business includes several things that help guide and steer a ship so it rides the waves and does not tip over. I happen to like to use the DMAIC critical thinking model, but the PDCA one works just as well.
At the highest level, the corporation’s executives must:
1. Define the vision
2. Measure the gap
3. Analyze the market, products and services
4. Improve the products, processes and perception
5. Control risks and reinvest
Given the fact that I do not know your frame of reference, these may seem like simplified steps or they might seem like a mountain range of unknown terrain. Your first reaction might be, “We already have a reporting strategy. We spend days doing reports, and then we are in meetings explaining why we didn’t hit the numbers and then doing reports on how we are going to fix things. I feel like nothing ever is done. We are constantly in fix-it mode and another report surely isn’t going to help.”
If that is you, you are right – I agree. I am not talking about generating reports. I am talking about developing and then deploying a business strategy that includes a reporting structure.
Many companies start doing something, and then they never change. They just keep adding things on. Sometimes you have to clean the closet – a lean tool I use that is also referred to as 5-S. My partner and I also use another tool he calls SGD, for Strategic Goal Deployment.
Strategic Goal Deployment
Honestly, the key element or output of a perfect business strategy is meeting the business objectives. A byproduct of that strategy should be an appropriate measurement system that allows the alignment of management objectives while being efficient enough to mitigate and control risks.
To determine appropriate measurement systems, it is necessary to do other things first. Let’s come back to this one at the end. You don’t want to get wrapped around a tool, you want to use a tool to help you manage your business.
So here are the basic five steps to transform your business and develop a winning reporting strategy:
Step 1: Create a vision of the 3-5 year plan. Where is it that the company hopes to be in terms of sales, in terms of community, in terms of its employees and its products and services, and revenue?
Step 2: Determine who and how you are going to meet those objectives. Where does it make sense to grow? Where does it make sense to shrink focus?
Step 3: Set the goals and objectives and assign actionees
Step 4: Develop a method of tracking progress
Step 5: Define cultural norms and hold people accountable
Maybe you have a strategy, but you rarely hit your objectives. Do you wonder why you are not hitting your targets? Is it you, is it the industry, is it your staff? Does your staff argue and finger point? How can you get them to work together?
I do not know the exact answer to your specific dilemma(s) but I know that I can teach you methods to help you see where you need to focus your energies. I can coach you through obstacles and help you learn a set of tools that will aid you in achieving the goals that you want to achieve. I have a proven track record of saving companies millions of dollars, year after year.
One other thing; if an environment is not conducive to certain ideals, no matter how hard people try and no matter how much of an expert they are, the situation will not work efficiently. Sometimes it takes an outside person to jump start change.
Dr. Edward Deming shared his 14 management points, which were founded on the principle that most people want to achieve and succeed and in fact, very few want to fail. Therefore, failure is a result of defunct processes. If you learn how to use data to show you where the problems are, most situations can be corrected and transformed.
Aligning the culture with the mission and the expertise is not difficult once you have a plan in place, but creating that plan – that strategy – can seem overwhelming. Then once you figure out where you want to go, how do you get everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction, working on the right things and achieving success without tipping the ship?
Follow these five steps and get help along the way.
Kay Balbi, Lean Business Consultant and Motivational Leader
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