Since I’ve been working with clients and would-be clients lately, I frequently get asked this question. “How can I run my company better?” First of all, it always brings me a smile, as this kind of question makes me feel that the owner is focus on improving his company, and if the owner is focused on improving his company, its likely to happen.
There are so much work to do and so little time, the question and answer to figure out first is what to focus on? What is your company’s priority? What change will bring that most positive impact? What can I do now with a small resource investment that would yield the highest and best ROI in the shortest amount time? What would take longer to improve?
Yes, you read that right, it is an investment into your company, not a line item expense. Done correctly and effectively, your company, employees and customers will reap the rewards of your investment in the months and years to come.
Atlas, most owners don’t feel that they need to improve their business model. In fact, they usually hear from middle management or other senior executives that things have to change but they resist or don’t have complete buy-in or don’t allocate enough resources to ensure the success of any process change. Worst, they give lip-service to wanting change but they stand in the way to actually making it happen.
Most owners/top management will finally agree to making changes only if:
- They start losing market share
- They’re losing business or sales are down.
- New Senior member insisting on the change.
Here are some reasons why improvement process changes fail:
- Senior executives don’t have the faith/trust in their management team and employees to execute.
- Employees and mid-level management teams don’t trust executive management to fully support them and allocate resources accordingly.
- Poor execution due to poor understanding what their core competency is about. Lack of cohesive strategy.
- Wrong driver – having the incorrect person or not having a designated person to push thru the change initiatives. Everyone is waiting for someone else to take the lead and no one steps up.
- Goals and purpose were not clearly defined.
Before you can start executing or demanding changes be made in your organization, you need to understand where you stand. Then you need to know where you want to be in the next 5-10 years. One of the key mistake is rolling out changes too fast without fully understanding the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
The changes you set out to improve should meet some of the criteria s below:
- Helps grow your sales
- Helps grow your profits
- Helps grow your market share
- Helps you retain and attract your best employees
If you make any changes without improving all or any of the above, you’re likely to be wasting your time, burning through your resources and creating unnecessary upheavals for your people.
Once you’ve identified and have fully clarity on your company goals, you need to do the following:
- Ensure you have Top Management buy-in – not just buy-in but willingness to put their personal time into ensuring that it’s successful. Leaders of the company must know and work with setting examples on the behaviors that they are asking their teams to execute on.
- Ensuring that middle management understand and has complete buy-in. Without the middle management executing the day to day affairs, your efforts will not be successful.
- Business process should be document, audited to ensure that they make sense, measure all activities to ensure that they are adding value to the customer and to the organization.
Continuous business improvement is NOT a one time project, its an ongoing mindset that must be practiced from the top down and the bottom up. Also, these things takes time, people don’t change over night even if they really really want to. If your company is on the right track, you will see improvement in employee morale, lower turnover rate, greater customer satisfaction, improve sales, and influx of new customers.
Always be measuring and improving how your organization run its business.
By: Shirley Tan