How to create success in a business?
Often we hear great presentations, sales pitches, project ideas and all sorts of proposals and ideas, and check back a few months after, nothing has moved, very little got delivered, there is no smell of success and results anywhere.
What happened here we wonder, and conclude that the place is doomed, nothing works here, this company is different, this business is too complex…………. fill out the blank space with the one you hear at your place.
In my very first assignment right after university, a few of young engineers, we took the liberty of adding the so-called productivity savings projects total cost savings numbers and presented it to our boss, the manufacturing VP. He was not very happy, as it turned out if all those projects really would have delivered what they promised the company would have had minus 100 employees on the payroll! Was it bad intention? No. Was it lying, no? It was just human nature. We usually overestimate what we can deliver. We want to look good!
Usually, in any company, we are good at figuring out what problems we have, and what sort of projects we need to do to overcome the issue. On the contrary, we are not very good at finding the cause of the problem, the elephant in the room. Neither we are good at being able to focus appropriate efforts, people to address the underlying problem.
What is the moral of the story?
Well, I have to tell you, that you as a leader have the job to help your troops to succeed and successfully tackle the issue. You need to set the path clear and make sure enough action is taken to create success. Without action, the thoughts remain thoughts as there is no force behind them to create the momentum necessary to create success.
What are the keys:
Focus: Create a clear problem statement, define what is wrong, create clear communication around it. Make sure that the organization is very clear what the task at hand is, what is expected of them. It has to be clear and simple to drive action. For example, you can not say “In our company, we have a profitability problem, go create projects and ideas to improve profitability.” You pick up your pay for a reason, so have to do a better job than that. A good statement would be, “ We have a profitability problem because we lose too much money on customer returns and warranty costs. Our goal is to reduce the customer returns by 90% by implementing great quality culture!”
Action: Allow time, assign resources, create accountability in the organization. Make sure that there is time set aside to review results and projects on a weekly basis. Also, make sure that you assign your best people to run the projects. You are lying to yourself if you think the problem will fix itself, or you as the leader is enough to coordinate the efforts. If you can not pull your best people out than I am sorry but you are not taking it seriously, so how do you expect your team to take it seriously. Create a culture of celebration and expectation of everyone needs to support the initiative and cooperate. Make sure training is done to all. Help people to support the initiative you created.
Unity: This has to be a team sport in the organization. Everyone needs to be supportive or at least compliant with the initiative and objective. If the momentum created not pointing in the same direction, with a unified force, the impact is lower or none. The efforts go against one another and weaken or cancel each other out. It is not enough to create a unified vision, in the beginning, you have to make sure that the initiative stays on track. Momentum cannot be lost, has to be maintained. So close involvement is required from you as the leader. You have to show your face and show interest, and held people accountable for supporting the initiative.
So, no rocket science behind success, you need clear direction and massive action, then success is guaranteed in a business.
Post your comments and experiences below for us to create a dialogue!
Good luck with creating successful projects!
Enjoy the ride and deliver benefits!
Dress in with the ambition of a wolf…
Be Persistent as if Today Was Your last chance…
Be Hungry and Focused!
Take 1 minute to get your motivation on point and go get the work done!
… Don’t waste your precious time thinking about past mistakes!
… Get Up and go on!
… Keep working!
Empowerment is a frequently used word, sometimes I feel it is over-used and sometimes we have no clear understanding of what it really means or how we can achieve it.
It is not a magic word, the simplest way to look at it that everyone is coming to work not with the intention to deliberately do something bad. Most people are neutral and only some are positive and wanting to do something good.
This gives us leaders with 2 challenges, one to make increase the number of people who want to do good and the second is to set them to one direction.
Sounds easy… But how am I going do it?
There are clear pillars of engagement and there are multiple ways to make it work. Let’s look at the basics.
People will go for the direction of least resistance. So if you want them to do something, than it has to be made very easy for them to do. You would not expect them to go do hours of training and then take an exam and….. Give them the information what needs to be done, and than give them a process that is simple to do.
For example… You want people to raise ideas to improve processes. You do not want a numbered form to be requested from HR, than filled out properly, submitted to their bosses in person, who presents a tally chart every day…. This will provide you with perfect tracking, but it will not work in your favour to create mass movement. Get forms that explains what needs to be filled out. Get a box of magnets and a whiteboard and have them stick it on…. And make sure you show up at the board regularly.
Similarly, if you are a speaker and you want the audience to ask questions, you can ask your assistants to run around with microphone, and get people to ask… Yes you will get questions, but usually from people who like to show off anyhow. If you want mass participation, put out paper and pens and a box, and before break announce that you will be taking questions from the box which people put in anonymously….. You will get 10 times more questions.
So the message is to make it simple and least painful!
This also a key point. This needs to support what you want to achieve. As the process is there, and simple, you have to make sure that the organization is there to support. Clear roles has to be established, who does what. Also clear goals have to be set for everyone, what is their role in achieving the goal. Maybe tie some incentive to it, portion of salary, bonus, prize… Money or prizes always work their magic. We as humans are kids forever. We love to play. It is quite fascinating how far a Mars bar takes you as a prize. Costs nothing, value in achieving a goal, priceless.
So back to our previous examples. If you want to generate ideas, your organization needs to be aligned. First of all the people have to be supported by their peers and managers to bring forward the ideas. There has to be a guru or referee (expert) who helps people to figure out and navigate in the new world. The managers have to be incentivized to push the people to bring the ideas. Other functions have to be held account to make sure the best ideas are implemented, so it shows the people that it is worth to bring up ideas.
And you as a leader have to show that you care!
If anything makes something work, than this is the most critical element. We as leaders always complain on how people should behave and how they do not. Guess what, who’s fault is it… Yours. Why? When you point at someone, look at your hand, only one-finger points to the other person, three fingers point to you.
So what are the three fingers?
First finger: Above all, you as a leader and your leadership team have to show that you care. You have to be talking about it, be curious about it, and package it into every communication. So people see you care.
Second finger: You have to do it yourself. Whatever you expect, you have to show and also communicate how you do it. Better yet, you join your people doing it. Raising improvement ideas, make sure your ideas are posted on the board of the teams. Go there, find something you would find anyhow, take the time to put it on the card and stick it to the board…. And follow up.
Third finger: Praise and penalise. Highlight people who do it well, and tell them off if they do not do it. People will learn from immediate positive or negative feedback. Positive better, if all else fails negative is also required. Make sure it is clear that it is not OK not to follow the new requirement.
It is not difficult, it just takes concentrated effort and time to create empowerment and also create change in any organisation. Keep up the good work!
Enjoy the ride and deliver the benefits!
Have you ever felt that your business unit is the one and only that is helping the company to function and succeed? Have you ever felt that the other departments are not important at all and sometimes even useless? Have you ever looked at your colleagues and thought; hey you guys are screwed without me…!
Now think about the departments of your company for a moment, think about the work they conduct on a daily basis and now imagine if they wouldn’t be there anymore… Imagine if one of your colleagues would leave… who would do his/her job? How long would it take to find another person and to train the new person? How many mistakes would be done until the new person learns the new job?
Feels good to be important??? Now it is time to stop…. Right now! Being the wise man, knows everything, it gives you a feeling of high…. but at the same time gives you no joy…. Sometimes you feel that you just do not want to start your day, you are being down and miserable…. Your gut tells you that this is not right!
Pick a different question for yourself to thing about!
How can I stay motivated and passionate about my job but at the same time stay humble so that I’m not dragged by my ego in the thought of being irreplaceable?
Well, there is only one answer to this question: Generosity! Be Generous! And I guess now you’ll think Generous in the workplace? Where everybody is trying to get my position? Or where every day I have to fight so my voice can be heard? Yes, besides all the daily struggles you might have or the misery you might be creating to yourself generosity in the workplace is what will make you be valued by your colleagues and eventually make you grow. When you look at your colleagues or other departments no matter what the issue that you are facing right now with generosity the struggles will end and new ideas to solve the issues will be found and implemented.
This approach is making you focus on the important and long term, you will not see all the benefits immediately, but on the long run… boy this makes a massive difference.
Let us think about a common problem that companies face; You are waiting for the answer from a colleague of another department so that you can go on and finish the project you are working and this answer is not coming or it arrived and you don’t think it’s good enough or worst you don’t agree with at all and you think the person is totally crazy and unprofessional… Your immediate reaction would be to just call the person and spill all your frustration, your thoughts go from “I could have done it better” to “this person is totally useless, let me speak with his/her boss” so you start thinking about sending an email to the person copying all the important people you know that are involved in the project, you are sitting there your fingers are burning you want somehow to ridicule this person so that it never ever happens again that such a mistake will be repeated…
STOP!!! Yes, don’t do it. Stop yourself and be generous. Re-check the documentation or whatever the job was, first of all, you have to ask your self if the information you sent to the person in the first place was good enough, don’t immediately assume that you are right and the person is wrong (we are not perfect), if you see that the work at your end is good than if you have the possibility and have this person just a few steps or offices from you stand up and go speak personally with the person and calmly show your point of view, let the person speak and explain his/her point of view, remember we have two years and only one mouth for a reason: we should listen more and speak less. After the person explained itself calmly find a solution and you will see that the target will be achieved.
If the person is not in the same building as you then call the person on the phone and have a chat the same way you would if the person would be in front of you as explained above…
Now, you might think; Hey, I have no time for this! I rather send an ugly email… I’ll copy this person’s bosses and they will take care of solving the problem… Ok, but hey if you were the person that made a mistake what kind of approach would you prefer the other person to take? Speak to you directly and solve the problem or throw you in the fire without even informing you of what’s going on?
Well…. It is your choice, you can be angry and miserable and do it again with someone else or even the same person tomorrow, or feel good and show generosity. I can assure you that the world around you will change, and even the people around your will change.
We are professional but we are humans and business must be done with humanity be generous with your colleagues and co-workers and help the chain to stay strong.
Business with Wisdom is the Key to Success!!!
Enjoy the ride and deliver the benefits!
What does loyalty mean in a company… and why people are not acting loyally?
I am sure you have heard or even said that I am loyal to my company and also heard the company must be loyal to me. On one side, I tend to agree with these statements on the other I disagree.
Being loyal to a company is to with your own personal values. You as an individual must live your life with certain standards, some people have higher some lower some different. However, I have noticed in some cases that these standards do tend to change when you behave in a company. We do not respect other people, we do not respect the assets and possessions of the company, we do not respect the money of the company…. But we should. A company is no different than a group of people getting together for a cause. In your mind it has to be the same when you get together with a group of friends and help someone on a project, moving houses or sort out a shed or something bigger. The company is a group of people working towards a goal. OK, there are structures and processes but think for a moment. When you go out with more than 3 people, someone must take the lead and set some rules up… correct?
So being loyal, must come from you as an individual and make sure you do the best every day…. Will come back to the “why” in a minute.
The loyalty of a company, there is no such thing. People often say the company should take care of this, the company should provide that… Yep, what is the phone number of the company so I can speak to him or her, I sometimes ask. Same true for functions, Engineering, Manufacturing…. They do not have email addresses and phone numbers either. People do. So loyalty to a company is a loyalty of an individual in a position to you as another human being.
Once you start to talk names, the conversation starts to become more real, more powerful and productive, often times painful initially. But definitely more rewarding.
So…. Why should we be loyal? Simply for happiness. All of us are in search for that. If you feel good in your job, you enjoy what you do, you live your life in a company to the values you follow with your family or friends… You will be happy. Not for me, not for the “company” but for you. It is your choice how you want to feel every day, miserable or happy…. I choose happiness!
Enjoy the ride and deliver the benefits!
All of us have a greater potential what we currently use / exhibit. It is already within us, no need for anything to be added it is there already. How much of this potential you will use today, it is entirely up to you. It is your decision.
You know very well from studies, that you only use so much percent of your brain capacity. You also know, that if you would work out your body could perform better, have more energy, lift more weight, run or walk faster etc.
Same true for work or much broader extent your life.
Once you know and visualize what you want to achieve, the how will be delivered by your mind. The thoughts and actions will follow.
So if you feel that it is time to take charge, be a leader in whatever field your are in, just make that decision that I will write my goals and outcomes down. You can take a baby step, and write it down for toady. What am I commiting myself to for today as an outcome?
If you have done that, you are already a leader of your life.
Do not be discouraged if you have not done all of them by end of the day. We as humans are not perfect. Celebrate the ones you did…. Give yourself a pad in the back (pretty good feeling although it looks awkward from outside), or think about what happened with the ones that did not materialize. Make sure you learn from your mistakes.
But…. Do it again the next day!
Enjoy the ride and deliver the results!
Every one of us had a job, where all day long you just did fire-fighting. Boy that is a tiring exercise. Not that it gives you a lot of pleasure, success feeling all day, when you are good at it. Maybe people love being fire-fighters and being important. However if you want to stop it for good, there is an excellent way to do that.
Whatever you do, you can almost always ask the question:
Based on what do I / my team prioritise what we do?
From the answer you can determine that you will ever stop fire-fighting or not.
So ask the question today…And think of a way for you and your team to change the priorities. In manufacturing, making sure things start on time and keep moving and understand the disruptions.
In projects, things must be started on time and kept on track regular basis.
In other words, if your focus is the end, you are not seeing woods from the tree!
… Stories, questions, please post it into comments. Glad to listen!
Enjoy the ride and deliver results!