I would bet that you want growth for your business. If so, then you need to do the “right things” and do “things right’. I experienced this strategy first hand working with a Fortune 500 Company. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are an industry leader and have achieved consistent steady growth over many years.
You might wonder: ‘What does it mean to do “things right?” ‘ And what are the “right things?” Verne Harnish discusses this in “Scaling Up.” (I highly recommend reading!)
With this in mind, here are the “right things” to do in order to:
- Be an early industry innovator
- Increase market share
- Improve its culture
- Drive up customer satisfaction both internally and externally and
- Ensure business growth
The “Right Things” and ‘Things Right” for Business Growth
1. You need to have a Vision.
It’s a powerful force when the organization knows where it is going and what it wants to achieve. Vision gives the people in the organization purpose and meaning for their work. An organization’s Vision sets the stage for change. Further, it provides the reason behind any desired change. What is it your organization is trying to achieve?
2. Culture change requires constant and consistent training and reinforcement.
“One off” training won’t do it.
When there is a “rear-guard’, the old way of doing things can be a powerful force. They are the employees who are determined to keep old habits alive.
A strong culture based on carefully thought out and clearly defined values leads to superior performance and higher employee retention. In addition, culture gives everyone a framework within which to make decisions.
IBM requires its management to complete 40 hours per year of management training.
What type of continuous training does your organization have in place?
3. Values are critical.
The very core of the organization lies in its values. They clearly define expectations. When brought to life throughout the organization, they can be used to modify behavior to be consistent with the Vision. The greater clarity your people have of the organizations values, the more precise and effective their actions will be.
Are your organization’s values clearly articulated and brought to life on a daily basis?
4. Associate satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction.
Your external customer experiences the same climate environment as your internal customer. Two things determine how your employees treat probable purchasers and current customers:
1. How your employees are treated by management and,
2. How they treat each other.
Therefore, increasing sales and building a loyal customer base starts internally.
How does your organization measure and manage employee satisfaction and loyalty?
5. Evaluating, benchmarking, and managing points of connection are critical to your probable purchaser’s positive experience.
Careful word crafting at every point of connection can have a huge impact on how someone feels when interacting with your people.
After all, everyone remembers how they were made to feel.
When was the last time you evaluated the effectiveness of what happens at every step of every type of customer interaction?
This can be one of the most rewarding exercises your organization ever does. Increased profitability follows improving your customer experience.
6. Language makes all the difference.
Have your employees view everyone the business comes in contact with as “guests” or “probable purchasers”. This changes their mindset and instills self-belief in the outcome of every interaction.
Could your organization inadvertently be missing opportunities because your customer facing employees are thinking and believing the wrong types of things?
7. Innovation and differentiating yourself from your competition will lead to increased market share.
The objective of both innovation and differentiation is the same: to develop a position that potential customers see as unique. Moving away from traditional ways of doing things can create new and better ways. And this leads to fewer comparisons with the competition.
For example, think of the car buying process. It’s not that difficult for a dealer to be different from the competition. Because, for the most part, the buying experience is not that good anywhere. Just providing a better experience is a differentiator.
What process do you have in place for innovation? Can your employees clearly communicate what sets you apart from your competition?
8. Operating systems can make a difference in your customer experience, both internal and external.
In fact, operating systems support both the performance of people in their roles and ease of purchase. Remove anything in the way of these and you will improve:
- Customer experience,
- Ease of process and,
- Time of process.
Operating systems absolutely need to support the efforts of individuals.
When was the last time you evaluated how easy it was for each employee to get the results required from their role? And how easy it was for people to do business with your organization?
9. Standardization is critical and best practices need to be identified and put into practice.
Michael Gerber (The E-Myth Revisited) says that complete standardization is the hallmark of any replicable model. (See McDonalds and Starbucks.) A focus on exact procedures frees average people to achieve world-class results every time and at every location.
Once you find a step in your process which gets the desired results at a high level every time, you should make it a best practice. To be sure, do this regardless of whether you are a single location or multiple locations, two partners or thousands of people.
10 Organizational change is a long term play.
Focus on creating a learning organization that applies knowledge, ideas, and improvement and does it quickly.
It is important to have a development process in place that ensures the development of critical skills. In addition, that challenges people, and coaches them to higher levels of performance.
Any improvement initiatives will be perceived by your people as a ‘flavor of the month’ without these processes in place.
Do your people think that they can just wait things out so they can go back to what was comfortable?
11. Reward what you want to improve
This is the most effective way of influencing the behaviors which are consistent with the organization’s
- Values, and
- Strategic plan.
Performance should be regularly measured against desired results and core values. This helps your people know that their efforts are appreciated. And that their accomplishments are recognized.
How effective is your organization’s rewards and recognition program?
12. Be clear on what you are measuring, what is most important, and why.
My client company had a short term focus on profitability (critically important, don’t get me wrong). However, this almost led to a dramatic decrease in the achievement of changing the customer experience.
By identifying and training on the skills and knowledge missing, profitability started climbing within 30 days. Notably, we didn’t compromise the experience in order to keep the numbers up.
What is it that your organization measures and why?
Everyone doesn’t need a high performing organization. Just like not everybody needs a high performance car. Given that, what would the ramifications be for you if you chose economy while your competition chose the top end?
In conclusion, make the significant choice of doing these things differently, and you will have chosen high performance. Because, if you don’t, you will relive the same life over and over. If you are fine with that, that’s fine.
At the very least, dedicate your business to the satisfaction of the consumer. All of the above “right things” support this as the most important overriding lesson of all to ensure business growth.