The Big Three – Strategy, People, Processes
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Do you know the secret of a successful business? According to Michael Alter, president of SurePayroll, there are five ways to measure business success: profit, growing customer base, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and owner satisfaction.
Carter McBride from Demand Media states, “One of the best measures of success is a firm’s profitability ratios.”
Chris Joseph, also from Demand Media, identifies the following measures of success:
- Learning from customers
- Meeting expectations
- Daily achievements
- Bottom line
- Marketing effectiveness
These cover the most common ways to measure your success. Some businesses have additional measures and some have fewer. I would venture a guess though that whether you use the measures mentioned above or have others, they all center around the big three main concepts – strategy, people, and processes.
Strategy – Without a strategy for the direction of the business, not much else matters. Where do you want the company to go? What do you want the company to accomplish? How are you planning to get there? That’s all part of the strategic vision.
Having a vision, a mission, and a set of values is one thing, ensuring that …
- The entire organization understands and can implement the strategy;
- You have the leadership team in place to implement and communicate the strategy;
- You have the right set of balanced metrics to measure the progress of the strategy;
- Your organization structure and activities support the strategy; and
- You are utilizing your human capital to ensure the success of the strategy
are something else. This is called “strategic alignment” and without it, the success of your strategy will be deeply impacted. Prana Business offers an excellent assessment tool called Line-Of-Sight™, which measures a company’s strategic alignment.
People – People are a vital part of any business strategy. Not just people who work for the company, but people who buy your products and services; people who provide services or products to your company; people who will or won’t market your products and services; people in the communities you live in and interact with on a daily basis.
All of these people have direct or indirect impact on the success of your business and thus need to be considered when implementing sales and marketing strategies, considering vendor and customer relationships, and establishing a community outreach.
As far as the people who work for you, it obviously behooves you to identify and address any current or potential employee problems as soon as possible in order to avoid dissatisfied employees and an inordinate amount of employee turnover.
Dissatisfied or dysfunctional employees will not and cannot be effective in helping you implement your strategy. What kind of behaviors would you like your employees to possess? What motivates your employees? What soft skills do your employees possess? What is their stress level? If the jobs they are in could talk, would they say that these are the best employees for each specific position? There are ways to identify this information and knowing it and addressing it will help ensure that the right people are in the right jobs, they are utilizing their skills and competencies effectively, and their stress levels can be managed once you know what is causing the stress. TTI Success Insights® has some wonderful assessment tools that identify all of these areas.
Processes – People work within business processes. Bad processes not only affect the people who work within them, but also the overall effectiveness of the business. Many companies have no process metrics so they don’t know how long it takes or how much it costs to produce a product. Most don’t realize that the process created 10 years ago no longer works in the current environment. Most don’t know how to improve because they don’t know where the problems are. Most don’t have nor have ever had process maps. Many have processes that revolve around people so that if the people leave, they have no process.
Every company has processes regardless of the size or complexity of the operation. Every company can improve their process efficiency. Every company has process bottlenecks, manual processes that need to be automated, and processes that need to be eliminated because they no longer make sense.
You can’t implement a business strategy unless you have the processes to support the strategy. Processes affect marketing, sales, production, customer service, support, and every other aspect of your company. Bad processes cause employee turnover, raise costs, and reduce revenue. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, then hire someone to help you with your process mapping, assessment, and improvement efforts.
It all revolves around three areas – strategy, people, and processes – the big three intersecting circles that depend on each other for the success and growth of your company. Concentrate on these three areas and you will have a successful business.
About the Author — Ron Feher is the Chief Improvement Officer at WhiteRock Business Solutions where he helps turn small business strategy into reality. WhiteRock concentrates on three areas of business – strategy, people, and processes. Ron is a strategic partner with Prana Business (Line-of-Sight™), and a certified professional analyst with TTI Success Insights®. He specializes in improving business operations through his Executive Peer Groups (STAR Groups), executive coaching, employee/team assessments, business planning, and day-to-day operations improvement. Ron does Career Coaching as an outreach (#givingback) and is a certified consultant through Career Direct. WhiteRock is located in Orange County, California and can be found at www.whiterockbusiness.net; or contact Ron directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (949-466-0943). @RonFeher