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!