If you want people to focus, you have to give a clear picture of what you want to have happen. Business is a funny animal. Sometimes we start out building a racehorse, and we wind up with a camel that can be more stubborn than a mule. All three are useful; all have their place; and all can get you where you want to go. But the ride’s ease and comfort in getting there will be different.
In building your business, you have three primary pictures open to you. And like the racehorse, the camel, and the mule, any choice you make can be successful. But eventually, you have to decide whether you, your family member employees, and the rest of your team focus on (1) operational excellence, (2) innovation, or (3) customer relationships. It is possible to be good, perhaps even great, in all three simultaneously; but I don’t know and haven’t read about any companies or organizations that excel in all three simultaneously because each takes a different application of your only resources – people; time; and, money.
From a succession planning standpoint, the ten success factors that make up the succession planning matrix can really give you some strong clues as to which really drives your business. Let’s talk about some of the more obvious.
1. Share Your Motivation and Perspective. Owner and Founder may or may not be the same person in your business. The logic to follow is the same, however. Whether it’s the same person or two (or more) different people, your business choices come down to this: Should I be a Walmart, an Intel, or a Ritz Carlton operation? The answer to that question lies somewhere in owner motivation and perspective. And whichever option you choose profoundly impacts every other business decision you and your team make.
2. Take an appropriate amount of time to plan strategically. It’s incredibly difficult to steer a ship that isn’t going anywhere. The purpose of strategic planning is to identify success critical projects; build or procure the internal and external resources needed to complete the projects; initiate action; insure congruence with motivation and perspective; build feedback systems help people know the score; and adhere to timelines. It’s the action and timelines that give most organizations fits. Remember that projects and objectives get behind schedule and off track in the same way that people go broke: slowly at first; and then all at once.
3. Establish and measure business performance expectations. You must meet market expectations in Operations, Innovation, and Customer Relationships. You must excel in the area that you decide is your brand promise. None of the three options is better or worse than the other two, as long as the choice you make is the one you want to be known for throughout your target market. The metrics you use need to reflect how well the processes and procedures used to make your Model of Excellence effective are actually working.
Remember, the key to longevity in the marketplace is sustainable excellence. The key to attracting and retaining the right people who do the right things the right way the right number of times is having a credible reputation as an excellent place to work.