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The Summit Blog

Want to enrich your business day with solid advice you can apply right away? Looking to be inspired? Want to warm up the old thinking cap so you can focus on what’s important? Check out The Summit Blog…

Do you try to predict the future – or control it?

Even a gorgeous strategy is nothing without the execution. Whether you decide to look around to develop a prediction or make a pre-emptive strike to control the environment and establish your strategic position, you implement, measure and adjust as necessary. Rinse and repeat. Fail from time to time, but fail forward and fail fast.

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Market Differentiation – Managing Customer Expectations

If you know what your customers value and what their expectations are, and if you know what your competitors are doing, you are on your way to differentiation by fulfilling those expectations. What would happen if you took it one step further, and raised your standards above and beyond what your clients expect? Imagine the buzz you could create, and the referrals your happy customers would send to you!

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Must strategy come first for business success?

Many companies have assumed that a strategy is a fixed sort of thing that must be perfected before it is implemented. The traditional strategy was intended to last for 24-36 months. But in reality, many of the multi-year, locked-and-loaded strategies are obsolete by the time they are communicated, much less implemented. Effective strategies evolve as markets change, supported by people and execution and fueled by cash. The Four Decisions form a framework that helps a business grow.

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Your cash cycle – measuring performance in sales

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure your progress toward your desired strategic outcomes. Some of them remain consistent over time, so you can compare this period’s results to a prior period. Some are derived by looking at past performance and identifying patterns. Some of your KPIs will likely be looks in the rear view mirror. But you can’t determine future direction by focusing only on where you’ve been. If you are measuring only based upon results and the sales cycle times in your industry are long, it could take you months to determine whether an individual or group is effective. That means that you can incur significant cost and risk before you fix a problem. You need some KPIs that are predictors of future success, leading indicators.

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The strategic value of choosing to be bad at something

What would you be willing to sacrifice in order to be really outstanding – industry leading? Would you be willing to sacrifice design for functionality, or functionality for design? Would you be willing to trade speed for one-of-a-kind craftsmanship? How would you choose to be bad in order to differentiate your business?

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Do your work processes support growth – or slow it down?

Do your processes operate without drama while delivering industry-leading profitability? Sometimes when companies think LEAN they focus on their factory floor – on their make/production and inventory cycle. But the overall cash conversion cycle in your business (it’s the oxygen for growth, remember?) also includes your sales process, your delivery process, and your billing, payment, and collection processes. Even if your production floor is operating like clockwork, if your sales process takes too long or clients don’t pay on time, financially-based high drama can ensue.

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It’s time to act. Do you speed up or slow down?

When it is time to act, deciding whether to speed up or slow down is for many people a mashup of rational analysis and gut response. For business owners and leaders, deciding whether it is time to act may be a reflection of deeply held values. Or it might be based on habits that may or may not be as relevant now as they were when the behavior pattern was first established. 

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Using huddles to synchronize your business

The daily huddle creates clear communication without all the interdepartmental filters. It builds relationships as team members grow more appreciative of what their colleagues must achieve daily. It creates collective intelligence as the participants share information about their respective areas of the business. It creates peer pressure through visible accountability for results. And maybe best of all, you may find that the huddle, as part of a framework, saves you hours of time that you used to have to spend in meetings.

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CEO challenges in a growing company

Even the best CEOs don’t have all of the answers, so you don’t have to either. Savvy CEOs know, though, that it’s smart to tap into resource that can provide information that you need. SummitHRD knows how to help you install the framework to support your business, and to support you, as your company grows.

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Increase team focus by adding fun

What we are talking about here is helping your company achieve outstanding results over the long haul by using quarterly sprints to drive you toward the really big goals. You increase the team’s focus by adding some fun. People are motivated by goals that are a stretch, but that they believe are achievable. People are disarmed, and in better mindset for learning, when they are having fun. You’re together with your team for 40, 50 or more hours per week. Why shouldn’t you have a good time while you are growing your business?

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Maximize future business value by scaling NOW

You started your business because you had a vision. You might not be ready to talk about an exit plan. That’s OK. If the business is meeting your goals and providing you with daily energy and purpose, you might want to extend your timeline for your active role there. Even if you have determined that the only way you are leaving your business is on a stretcher, wouldn’t it be great to continue to grow something great? What if you have not yet seen the true potential that your business has in store?

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Value working with others stems from respect, authenticity

When you are a leader you are responsible for achieving results. You are responsible for good enough results today on your way to better results tomorrow. So when you try to take a short cut and run through the people along the way, even if today you are able to get what you want, what about tomorrow? What about the next day? It takes time to build relationships, whether you’re inside work or out. Invest the time to really SEE the person with whom you are interacting and listen for what they need. When you take time to find common ground and reciprocate so that all parties can have their needs met, you build the foundation for a sustainable, partnership-oriented venture. This is the type of venture in which everyone has an opportunity to win, over and over again.

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Does your plan contain these 5 windows?

Notice that there are layers involved here. Quarterly actions roll up to the achievement of annual key initiatives, and the annual initiatives support the 3-year strategic thrusts of the business. What is not shown here is each individual’s accountability for a piece of the quarterly goal. So it gets even more granular than shown here. Ultimately it’s all hands on deck for the accomplishment of the company’s biggest intentions.

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Balancing people and process to grow your business

You know what happens when everyone runs to the starboard side of the sailboat, right? The sailboat starts to lean that way, and if it leans too far it can tip right over. Based upon your talents, training, interests, and prior experience, you lean when you run your...

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Want to scale? Start where it hurts the most

So you want to scale your business but you’re not sure where to start? Some businesses choose to focus on scaling because they see some incredible possibilities. Others implement some aspects because they want to relieve some current pain. Companies that are scaling rapidly are making decisions about

cash (accelerating the inflow of it to fuel growth),
people (getting the right people in the right seats),
strategy (exploiting advantages, focusing), and
execution (speeding up communication, strengthening culture and accountability.)

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