MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES — RISING TO THE NEXT LEVELSeptember 2006
Before taking your company from where it is today to where you would like it to be, you must first organize what you currently have. An organized operation serves as the foundation to implement the subsequent steps required to get your establishment to the next level.
This may seem like an overwhelming, or even impossible, task but it really is easier than one might think if you as the owner, president or CEO—the leader of the company—are committed to making the necessary changes. The primary change is behavioral; you must get yourself organized personally.
The vast majority of company leaders suffer from constant interruptions and spend a significant amount of their time putting out fires and dealing with crises and, in many instances, working in cramped, unorganized offices. Does this sound familiar?
Start with the basics and begin by cleaning your desk. While this may sound trivial, it accomplishes a number of things:
• It allows you to begin to think more clearly.
• It improves your efficiency and productivity.
• Most importantly, it sets an example to other members of the organization.
Like it or not, you set the tone and create the culture under which the organization functions. If you are truly committed to change, the change must start with you. You’ll be amazed at the results. The standards you set begin to carry throughout the organization; it’s up to you to lead by example. You can’t expect something out of people that you don’t expect out of yourself.
Once your company has established the foundation it can now focus on creating the vision. What is a company vision? In its simplest terms, it is defining “who we are and what we want to be as a company.” This is a most critical step in getting a company to the next level.
In the majority of cases, this task is left to the top executive or to some trusted advisors. However, it is much more effective to involve members of your management team in this process, for a number of compelling reasons.
Knowledge about all facets of the company resides at all levels of the organization. By including, encouraging and eliciting input from all areas of the company the top executive is provided with more information, which allows for better decision making.
While you as the CEO will determine the final company direction, you’ll be amazed at some of the creativity, ideas and input you receive from team members.
Inclusion of members of your management team also produces an additional benefit. It promotes buy-in from the group and will greatly facilitate the process going forward.
In order to effectively carry out any type of initiative, communication is essential. Why? If everyone has a clear understanding of the goals and objectives, it allows them to work in unison towards that goal.
Communicate to every stakeholder within the organization. Stakeholders are everyone with an interest in the organization. Not only does this include partners and employees, but also suppliers and customers. Creating open lines of communication with stakeholders not only promotes awareness, but significantly enhances the ability to accomplish the company’s initiatives whatever they may be.
Including key employees in the decision-making process greatly enhances the ability to communicate with stakeholders as it facilitates effective communication—another positive byproduct of working in a team environment.
Effective communication also facilitates execution. If everyone is working together towards a common goal, the effort that needs to be exerted to accomplish that goal is significantly diminished.
Think of geese flying in formation or professional cyclists working together in a team time trial. In both instances, there is a “leader of the pack” who exerts the bulk of the effort for a short period of time while their “teammates” draft behind them, exerting less effort. After short periods of time, the “leader” drops to the back to “re-energize,” allowing another team member to rotate to the front to carry the bulk of the load. The net result is significant efficiency improvements with a lot less overall effort exerted— synergy at its best.
As the leader, you still ultimately dictate the overall direction, but now you have help getting there instead of carrying the entire load yourself.
Controls and Followup
In order to execute effectively, controls and followup are critical. How many times have you found yourself discussing plans at length with people only to find out that nothing gets accomplished? The key is to institute the proper controls and followup to ensure successful execution. This is one of the primary functions of the CEO. The question becomes how is it done?
Get everyone together for a short meeting. Create a specific agenda of what needs to be accomplished. Elicit input from all members and assign specific tasks to team members, along with completion deadlines. Adjourn and set a followup meeting to monitor progress.
Successfully organizing, creating a vision, communicating, executing and creating appropriate controls and followup within your organization will allow you to take your business to the next level. If you are ready, willing and open to make the necessary changes, it can be accomplished. zz
About the Author
Mike Kind is the founder and former owner of The JKG Group in Boca Raton, FL. He currently is managing partner of MyKind Advisors (www.mykindadvisors.com) and a partner in The Next Level Group (www.the-nextlevelgroup.com), which focus on taking companies from where they are to where they want to be. He is also the author of “Re-energize Your Printing Business,” a best-selling book within the printing industry.