Successful baby boomer businesses grow, are financially strong, and have integrated sales, marketing, and operations functions. Combined with superior leadership, teams, and employees that develop and implement good planning, businesses will be top performers.
Why then, do so many small businesses fail to be more successful? What opportunities for improvement are they missing? Which of these factors are the most important?
Actually, all these factors are important, and, if integrated properly, help drive success. Let’s look at several of the ways you can “take the temperature” of your business by visiting the health office and performing a business health check up.
The Owner’s Perspective
First, let’s examine the business owner’s perspective. Health measured here examines having a work/life balance, not being overwhelmed and playing continual catch-up, having and using a personal development plan, having a clear understanding of his role, and getting a very strong sense of accomplishment from his work. Why might this be important? Well, who is leading the company, driving the mission, vision, and company purpose? How are we doing so far?
Next, let’s check employee alignment. Are your training programs ensuring that your employees have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed? How are you at understanding what’s required to succeed in each employee’s role? Do you do a great job at matching employee talent and skills to their roles? Do you do an excellent job at understanding unique individual needs, concerns, and desires? And, do employees have multiple routes to advancement to ensure optimal matches in talent and skills? Are you traveling down the same highway at the same rate of speed as your employees?
Human Resource Practices
Since we are measuring the employee’s pulse, let’s look at your human resource practices. What is your employee turnover ratio? Do all employees have clearly defined, accurate, and legally compliant job descriptions? Are performance evaluations given regularly, objectively, and provide real value – to your employees and management? Are there clear and attainable paths of advancement for all positions? And, are your compensation and benefits plans competitive and fair?
Interaction of Parts
Next up, let’s see how effectively your various organs interact. Are your teams effective and consistently deliver high performance? Are they well balanced in talent, knowledge, and experience? Do you give them plenty of autonomy and leeway to achieve results? Do they have clear and understood visions and objectives? And, are each employee’s role and expectations clearly identified and understood? How are we feeling now?
Hmm, how is superior business leadership measured? Do your employees trust in your leadership, are you delegating effectively? Are leadership actions and results consistent and effective? Is leadership guiding you successfully to your objectives and goals? And, is your leadership structure adept and agile enough to capitalize on new opportunities quickly and effectively?
But what about the health of the less tangible aspects of the business, let’s examine these.
Let’s examine your business’ planning effort. Do you have key performance indicators that are measured regularly? Is the overall long term vision understood and communicated to all employees? How would you rate your planning – adequate, superior, or excellent? Have you effectively assessed competitive threats and acted upon them? And, do you and your employees see your overall strategy as effective and sound? Oh, and not to neglect a preventive medicine question – is there a planned exit strategy for the owner?
Now, let’s take the temperature of your business’ customer service. Do you provide very good customer service? Do you exceed your customer’s expectations – every time? Do your internal departments and staff cooperative to ensure consistent service to all your customers? Are your customers VERY loyal? And, are your customers everyone’s first priority? What is the reading on the thermometer?
Sales and Marketing
It’s time to test the reflexes of your sales and marketing program. Overall, do you do a very good job of selling? How skilled and effective are your sales representatives? How skilled and effective are your sales managers? Do you have an excellent understanding of your market? And, is your marketing message clear, consistent, and effective? How flexible are you now?
Let’s examine your business’ circulation system, its operations. Typically, circulation slows when your operations is not effective and efficient. How competent and respected is your operations management? How important is quality and do you continually strive for improvement? How superior is your quality improvement program? And, are you regularly measuring and comparing quality and profitability?
Almost done with the examination, just two more to go.
Oftentimes we neglect our business culture, so let’s take a peak at the flow in the fluids. How well defined and communicated are your organizational values and culture? Have you done a great job at creating a healthy, supportive, and productive work environment? Do most employees consider themselves as part of the family? Does your business culture really support organizational success? And how important is your business culture to your competitive success? Are there any blockages yet? Do you need a transfusion?
As a final element in our office health check, let’s examine your management systems. Are your managers receiving continual, high quality skills development training? Do you have clear lines of communications between management and employees? Do your managers receive superior skills training such as manager as coach training? How much do your employees respect their managers? And, finally, how great are your managers at gaining commitment and motivating staff?
Need A Full Check Up?
Depending on the results of your “health check” you may or may not need further diagnostic testing. A sample of a full “organizational health checkup” illustrates how precisely the results of a “health check” can be measured, and how a business can take steps to improve its health.
Similar to the prognosis of an annual physical, a business health check up can recommend proactive measures you can implement to achieve superior business performance organization-wide. The Doctor is making house calls. Contact me for your complimentary analysis.