How to Improve a Low-Performing Business, Part II
3/16/2010In the “storm” of the current economy, a low-performing business can easily be “washed away." Below are two quick pieces of advice from two CIE leaders on what it takes to transform your business into one that meets its fullest potential.
- Understand your resources
Resources are the “life blood” of a business. When a business fails to accomplish goals, chances are it’s “bleeding” somewhere. Effective leaders must be able to know why goals are not being met before a “minor wound” that merely slows the business down contributes to problems that prevent it from achieving success.
Start with your most valuable resource: your people. How do they spend their time at work? Are they externally focused or internally focused? Do they support one another? Are they applying their talents in ways that help the business achieve its goals? How about retention? Do your people tend to stay with the business?
The next most important resource is money. Do you understand where your revenues come from? Are they increasing or decreasing? Do you understand where the money goes within your organization? Is money being spent on things that move the business towards accomplishing goals or is it being wasted on things that keep things the way they are.
Undoubtedly, customers are another precious resource. Without customers or clients, the business cannot, and will not survive. Do you know your customers? Do you know why they come to you? What about your business meets their needs? What about your business fails to meet their needs? Do they feel valued? Do they feel like they are treated with dignity?
Finally, the collective or organizational knowledge of your business is an important resource to understand. The insights gleaned through peoples’ experiences of working within the business are instrumental in distinguishing your business from your competitors. Through these experiences, what has your business learned that can give you an edge on your leading competitor? What barriers are preventing your business from acting upon what it has learned? What can your business do to learn more?
In Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” he discusses the importance of “getting the right people, in the right seats on the bus.” This precept is critical to leaders taking action based upon an honest assessment of their resources.
As you seek to understand your resources ask yourself, “Do I have the right people?” “Are they in the right roles?” If not, fix it now! Empower the right people to take responsibility for fulfilling roles that transform the organization. Give them clear, measurable goals, inspire them and hold them accountable for their work.
Read Part 1 of this article.
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