Are We There Yet?
It is unusual for someone to get in their car without having a destination in mind. Unfortunately, that is the norm for most businesses. If you don’t have any goal posts how do you know when you’ve scored? The goals, whatever they are must be shared with all players on the same team.
People start their businesses for many reasons, it is often replacing a job with an immediate goal to earn enough to match their previous salary. Others may have a magic number in mind that will give them a certain level of turnover or profit. Whilst that may motivate the business owner it is unlikely that any team will be equally motivated in helping make their boss rich. This is why there is lots of talk about companies having purpose and vision.
Walt Disney’s vision was to make children smile, Microsoft’s was for everyone to have a PC in their home. Backing up the visions there needs to be a sound business model carving a niche in the market place.
Patrick Lencioni wrote a great book called The Advantage in which he outlines 4 disciplines needed for organisational health.
- DISCIPLINE 1 – Build a cohesive leadership team
- Members of team trust one another and can be genuinely vulnerable with each other
- Team regularly engage in productive, unfiltered conflict around important issues
- The team leave meetings with clear cut, active and specific agreements around decisions
- Hold each other accountable to commitments and behaviours
- Members of the leadership team are focussed on team number one. Organisational needs above the needs of their own departments
Lencioni talks about having a smart versus a healthy team. Many Leadership and Management teams are smart; highly skilled in their respective fields, but not necessarily healthy. There may be different personality types, managers protecting their teams, lack of openness and respect.
- DISCIPLINE 2 – Create clarity
- Leadership team know, agree on & are passionate about the reason the company exists
- The Leadership team has clarified & embraced a small, specific set of behavioural values
- Leaders are clear and aligned around a strategy that helps them define success
- There are clear differentiators from competitors
- The Leadership team has a clear, current goal around which the rally. They feel a collective sense of ownership for that goal
- Members of the Leadership team understand one another’s roles and responsibilities. They are comfortable asking questions about one another’s work
The 6 Clarity elements are concisely summarised, regularly reference and reviewed. This may be in the form of a full business plan, short, medium and long term goals, a 90-day plan, key performance indicators, action plans.
- DISCIPLINE 3 – Over-communicate clarity
- The Leadership team clearly & regularly communicates the 6 aspects of clarity to all employees
- The team leaves meetings with clear and specific agreements about what to communicate to their employees, and they cascade those messages quickly after meetings
- Employees are able to accurately articulate the organisation’s reason for existence, values, strategic anchors and goals
Getting everyone pulling in the same direction involves high levels of communication, consistent engagement with others with meaningful two way conversations.
- DISCIPLINE 4 – Reinforce the Clarity
- The organisation has a simple way to ensure that the new hires are carefully selected based on the company values
- New people are brought in to the organisation by thoroughly teaching them about the six areas of clarity
- Managers throughout the organisation have a simple, consistent, and non-bureaucratic system for setting goals and reviewing progress with employees.
- Employees who don’t fit the values are managed out of the organisation. Poor performers who do fit the values are given the coaching and assistance they need to succeed
- Compensation and reward systems re built around the values and goals of the organisation
The majority of business owners that I talk to about employee issues have problems with attitude, this is a combination of different personality types not understanding each other, unclear role expectations and mis-aligned values. Getting the recruitment and induction right will help build the team and maintain a healthy and smart organisation.
I recommend getting a 10-year outline of where you want your company to be, a three-year plan and a detailed one year plan. Get clear milestones in place and involve the team in mapping the journey and tracking progress.
The expression ‘Time Flies’ gets increasingly true as you get older, we live on average until we are 80, that is 4160 weeks, once you get to 50 that leaves 1560 weeks, if you want to retire at 65 then that leaves only 780 weeks…
Here is that put in two years – every block is 1 year… there is only the yellow blocks left to ‘get stuff done’.
So, get clear on where you want to be and keep checking ‘are we there yet’.
I run business skills workshops every 2 weeks, this is a low-cost programme for anyone looking to grow their business. Why not come and give it a try!
If you want more details please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a successful week