Most business owners say their major objective is to increase earnings for their companies. No other comment need be made except for how and what practices get you there. Sometimes the objective can be achieved by raising prices and with significant product quality customers may be willing to pay a bit more.
But in a market that is still volatile, global, and fast paced, how sustainable is that move? Since competitors frequently create products and services that are faster, better, and affordable, your price increase is at best a short-term move. So what works to improve company performance in the marketplace? You know the ingredients and sometimes it helps to integrate them into a single place.
It begins with goals that are meaningful, measurable and motivating. Meaningful goals fit your strategy and culture. Goals are meaningful to the business you’re in and your culture. These goals lead with your cultural values. “We will create a positive accounting experience for our clients with our expert services and client relationships that build long term trust.”
You can see how hard it is to build a meaningful, measurable, and motivating goal in a single statement. Don’t hesitate to expand goals until they capture what is measurable and motivates your employees and customers. The key is to be clear about your goals.
With the right goals, next comes flawless execution. Employees and managers can’t afford inefficient resource utilization and costly mistakes. Meaningful goals lose their relevance and motivational impact with poor implementation. Here a focus on performance is critical. Increased productivity from new technology, recommendations from implementers and key customers, and process improvements all support timely and flawless execution.
What complements these efforts is individual and team performance at high levels. Sustaining this atmosphere involves frequent meetings regarding company performance to goals and adjustments that help you stay on track. Identifying ways to innovate and improve performance are encouraged and can be both challenging and fun.
Sometimes companies draw several of their high performers together in a “skunk works” environment charged with recommending significant even breakthrough improvements to performance. Getting rid of waste is just the low hanging fruit; real success is in the dramatic improvements in production and efficiency from your team.
Improving company performance is multifaceted and relentless without creating stress. The experience of a few major successes is all it takes to keep the focus on improved performance and increased earnings. Bonuses are appropriate for significant improvements but recognition can trump the money to drive additional improvement. Public recognition programs and new interesting assignments can stretch the talents of any high performer into new directions.
A few guidelines and autonomy allow each high performer to set the pace that’s fits the resources. A sense of ownership increases with each success. Add decision making authority and you’ve got good ingredients for continued success.
Training and development programs that support innovation, leadership, and efficiency provide a sense of individual and team growth in performance and stretch talent even further. This builds bench strength from successful team members who renew the company and sustain its performance. Program topics are directly related to the goals of the enterprise and what’s needed to carry them out. Recommendations from the high potential employees are considered in the selection of high value programs. Suggestions can come from any source and cover any topic. Listen to all employees and consider those recommendations that don’t seem to fit. They may be just a bit ahead of their time.
One last point about improving company performance, always have a future focus. What does the company need three to five years from now? What will it look like? What are the faint signals that are out there that with amplification and discussion can make the difference between success and failure.
Ever wonder what would have happened if the railroad industry of 75 years ago saw the full potential of the airplane. We might be flying on the Reading Airlines or the Santa Fe Transportation System!
Bob Vecchiotti is a businessadviser and executive coach inPeterborough. He lives in Dublin.