Let me be clear, the world of business can be full of change, uncertainty and complexity. Especially when you are the boss, expected to steer the business along the path of increasing sales and profits. Everybody in the business probably looks to you to have the answers and know what’s happening out there in the market as well as inside the business. If only things where simpler and you could see them with greater clarity.
Well, let’s accept that you can’t know everything, especially when it’s external to the business. But could there be less ambiguity and greater clarity inside the business? And bear in mind if you or members of your leadership team see ambiguity then your staff will see even more. In my experience the folk on the shop-floor will be unclear about where the business is going, what the top priorities are and how they fit into achieving those priorities. The impact on the business of that ambiguity is inefficiency, i.e. lost profit.
The great news is that creating more clarity across the business will increase profit and can be done by simple, low cost actions. The success of those actions depends on you, the boss. Here are three areas to work on that will increase clarity.
This is not about some vague dream or aspiration. Most businesses I come across could do very well with a vision to do what they currently do but do it much better, i.e. faster, cheaper and consistently better quality. The power comes from involving the rest of the business in creating it or at least getting the chance to understand it. For a business with less than 100 staff the time invested in several hours of discussion and sharing will immediately impact morale, motivation and therefore efficiency.
This is really basic but essential. It is well nigh impossible to be a great business if everybody in the business doesn’t know this information in at least a basic level of detail. Imagine a business where everybody did. Do you think that business would be giving great customer service and always coming up with ideas to improve the service to customers? Again for a business with less than 100 staff the relative time invested increasing people’s knowledge will be minimal compared to the return in efficiency and customer service – two key drivers of sales and profit.
Not getting feedback on personal and business performance is like having a permanent blindfold on, wandering around hoping you are going in the right direction but never sure. Equally the lack of feedback could mean somebody continues to do the wrong thing, produce poor quality or waste money. Again the time invested in regular team feedback is repaid in improved efficiency. That feedback should best be done interactively and regularly. For individual teams that could be a daily 10 minute start-of-the-day briefing on current production performance. For the whole business that could be a monthly feedback session or sessions.
You will have noticed that clarity and therefore efficiency comes from getting everybody working to the same plan or agenda. It involves communication, discussion and sharing. The greatest investments are time and your commitment to make it happen. There is no need for expensive I or team away-days.
Achieving clarity is one of four key disciplines that create outstanding organisations. The others are Focus, Discipline and Engagement. The following link takes you to an assessment that will give you feedback on how you are progressing to being outstanding: Take The Test!