Three common issues affecting business performance

When I am invited to help an organisation improve its performance, there are generally three key elements that require work – direction, people, and getting ‘good shit’ done. These elements are outside of the standard financial metrics (whereby the products or services they sell make more money than the costs of the business).

So, let’s get straight into the details…

Element one: Direction

In my previous article, I touched on how vision and goals play a critical part in an organisation’s success. But because it’s so important, and such a common shortfall in business, I’m going to talk about it again but with more emphasis.

Imagine a person standing at the bottom of Mt Everest, just glancing up at the mountain. A tour guide asks “So, where are you heading?” and the person answers “not sure, somewhere up there”.

“Hey Charlie, we’ve got ourselves a daredevil here”, says the tour guide.

Now you must be thinking, of course, it’s critical to know where you’re wanting to go, right? But, we must be able to define what “somewhere up there” is. Heading up that mountain and ‘winging it’ is risky business and there’s no guarantee you’re set up for success.

Through my coaching, I help leaders distinguish their desired direction with these simple exercises…

Vision – creating your business horizon
  1. Grab an A3 piece of paper and a few coloured crayons or pencils.
  2. Sit somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Now visualise what your company looks like in three-five years’ time.
  3. Draw that image on your A3 piece of paper. Don’t worry about the quality of your drawing, just draw.
    In some cases, you can use adjectives.
  4. Now write down your goals for the business for the same period. Goals align with your vision but are more specific. Things like revenue, profit, employee well-being, and generational ownership have been goals I have seen. IMPORTANT: Make sure that your business goals don’t mess with your personal goals. Too many people have big aspirations for their company or department, and to succeed it would take a large amount of commitment and time. So, if the work-life balance is one of your personal goals, you better think about what you are willing to give up.

Now you should be clear on where you want the business to be in three-five years’ time.

The ‘why’ – the purpose of the company

Next, you need to define your company’s purpose. At its core, a company’s purpose is a bold affirmation of its reason for being in business. It conveys what the organisation stands for in historical, ethical, emotional, and practical terms. For a great explanation on this topic watch this Simon Sinek Ted Talk. After watching Simon’s talk, you will see that a company’s purpose is not about itself, it’s about what is going to do for others. For example, Disney’s purpose is to “make people happy”.

Values – how you operate

Your company values are all about how you do things. They form the basis of how the company and the people within it behave. They are non-negotiable and should reflect your company’s vision and purpose.

Note: You will find that having a good facilitator supporting you in developing your purpose, vision, and values is very valuable. They can poke and prod you with questions that should make you think deeply, and help you get a more meaningful result that people can connect with.

Element two: People

If your goal is to peak Everest, you won’t get there without the support of the sherpas and guides. It’s the same for achieving your business goals. If you don’t have everyone engaged, you likely won’t get there.

To get everyone engaged, here are a few pointers:

  • Ensure you know of everyone that will be involved in supporting the achievement of your journey. This includes people outside of your company.
  • Communicate the business’ direction.
  • Get buy-in and connection with the vision, goals, purpose, and values.
  • Build clarity on what part teams and individuals play within the journey.
  • Develop and share measurements of progress and share them often.
  • Have GREAT leaders’ that people will trust.
  • Communicate, communicate, and communicate more to ensure everyone is aligned.
  • Set the tone with great energy and determination.

Element three: Getting ‘good shit’ done

In my tenure as a senior executive in various corporates, there was never one organsation that executed its strategic plans well. Sure, we had consultants help us build fantastic plans, but did we get much done? No. We simply got lost doing our day-to-day stuff. In fact, well over 65% of a strategy’s value is lost in the execution stage. Getting ‘good shit’ done has several major benefits:

  • It brings satisfaction to teams and individuals.
  • It binds people and teams together because they are succeeding together.
  • It helps the company progress to its destination.

In order to make things happen, the best advice I can give is, to make activities into a ‘project’ and appoint a ‘Project Manager’. They will set things up in bite-sized chunks and build clarity on who is doing what. They can also create measurement dashboards and present them at team meetings. Make sure they are dogmatic on delivery, it can be hard, but it gets things done.

In summary

Be clear on your direction and create your company vision. Develop the company values and define its purpose. Make sure everyone is engaged and connected with the company goals, and get ‘good shit’ done by appointing people to manage tasks (projects). And most importantly, keep being awesome and keep striving.

If you have any questions or thoughts on these strategies, please feel free to get in touch and I will organise for you our free company alignment diagnostic survey and a one-hour consultation to discuss the results.

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