When a business grows steadily and manages to sustain itself over the long haul, it’s because the business has mastered key operational disciplines that help it function. Every business has them, and there are broad categories that many businesses share. But your industry, your stage of business growth and development, and your intentions for your business determine which specific disciplines influence whether you achieve your business goals, struggle with them – or blow right past them.
If you are a Gazelles fan or of Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up, you’ll recognize the general categories that you have to address in your business:
- Your people – How do you find the right individuals to work on your team? Hiring right is a discipline that extends beyond whether you’re asking only legal questions during the interview. When you are focused on growth you need a culture that aligns with your vision. You need to be intentional about bringing people on board who can meet the business’s needs tomorrow as well as today. You have to choose to continuously train them, to clearly share expectations and provide useful feedback. And you need to help them see how they fit into the big picture of your company. The right people, enlivened by a sense of purpose and equipped with the tools they need, will help you take your company anywhere you want it to go.
- Strategy – Part of strategy isdisciplining yourself to lay out your intentions for the business in enough detail and in tangible enough terms that it can be operationalized. This means that your team can build goal categories and SMART goals that create the bridge between current state and desired state. Another part of strategy, though – and this can be a deal-breaker for some businesses – is to look regularly at the environment, the customers, competition, and trends and make a predicition of where it is going to go. To succeed strategically your business needs to be ahead of the game if it is going to have adequate time to prepare to compete successfully. For most businesses today, a 3-year strategic plan will likely be obsolete in 12-18 months. Your senior team needs to be together regularly, discussing emerging trends, threats and opportunities, and making more frequent course corrections to stay ahead of the game.
- Execution – When business owners and senior executives tell us that they have a communication problem in their business it usually means that they have an execution problem. A great strategy is worthless if it isn’t implemented. And the discipline of communication revolves around who talks to whom, how often, and about what. Even at the front lines, a daily huddle makes sure that the people doing the work and their leaders have the most up-to-date nformation. That’s execution. They identify and solve small problems on the spot before they grow. That’s execution. High performing businesses design processes for making timely, informed decisions that the team can get behind. That’s execution.
- Cash – It’s great to be able to say that you love your work enough that you would do it for free. But free doesn’t pay the mortgage, it doesn’t retain employees, and it doesn’t create ever-increasing value for customers. Businesses need cash in order to scale, and the disciplines of managing budgets, collecting promptly,on receivables and speeding up cycle times in production AND in business processes help the company to optimize its cash position.
You might be thinking right now, “This makes complete sense, but there are a lot of moving parts involved here. I don’t have the time for all of this, and if I’m to be candid with myself I’m not sure that I have the knowhow.” It does make sense to have a partner who can coach you and your team through the establishment of the disciplines that enable you to grow, and who can bring tools to the table that can help you grow your business to its full potential. That is why SummitHRD here.