What it takes to build a business today

Too many times the tail is wagging the dog. The business is pushing the executive team around, and the solutions are either “work faster” or “identify a problem and fix it”. It is not uncommon for the problem to actually be a symptom…not the real issue. So what happens next??? The merry-go-round continues, one change at a time and new problems pop up. You can’t align one tire of a car, and more often than not, you won’t get far attacking one problem at a time.

The more likely issue is that the little problems signal a challenge to the enterprise model. The recent economy has accelerated changes in a number of industries and exposed some weaknesses that were less obvious in a growth economy. What used to work, doesn’t any longer, yet companies’ view of their value proposition and the form it takes in terms of process, protocol and policy, are outdated. Stabilizing the enterprise is not the answer—changing it is.

There are times when a one-off solution may work for a particular problem, such as dealing with an employee who is clearly not contributing. However, if there are a number of employees who are under-performing, is it the staff or the culture and the way it encourages them to contribute their collective intelligence and personal productivity to solutions?

In today’s world, if the business hasn’t taken a look at its overall model recently, it may well be time. Consider: how has the competition, customer and overall industry changed? Where do the opportunities in the market today align with the company’s strongest capabilities? How can a company get the best performance out of the employees that comprise the business? As CEOs like Rick Frost and others have shared with us in our CEO Interview series, the best businesses are people-centered. Leaders will thrive or fail based on the performance of their people. There needs to be a system which engages them in the business.

There are two key steps to examining the enterprise model. The first is developing a strategic plan that examines what aspects of the current model need to change. As a part of that work, the culture, processes, and value proposition all need to come under the microscope. Once the company sets a course, the organization structure, and people capability needs to be assessed and aligned with the organization’s needs.

Is it easy? No. Is it fun? Depends on who you ask; I love it, but most business owners don’t. Change is hard work. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

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