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Company Growth

Your Vision or Purpose – Are They Helping or Hurting Your Organization?

By | Company Growth, Pain Assessment | No Comments

In a recent blog, I talked about Where to Look for Organizational Pain. Over the next weeks, I will be exploring each of those locations where organizational pain can reside, in a little more depth. I will also provide some tools or methods for finding the root cause of the pain, so you can begin relieving the pain in the discussed area.

The first area I explored was Are Your Customers in Pain?

The next area we will explore further is with your Vision or Purpose

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Your Vision or Purpose defines not only who you are, but also what you want to be. If you are not clear about who you are, or want to be, and/or do not communicate it frequently, anyone associated with your organization – inside and outside – will be confused or you will miss opportunities. Having no clear and concise Vision or Purpose can cause pain throughout the organization. Focus on the three C’s for Visions and Purposes: Make sure they are clear, concise and communicated.

Begin Probing

Like a doctor does with us as patients, ask questions and probe so you can properly diagnose the real issue and begin working to relieve it.

Here are some questions you might want to ask your customers, yourself, your leadership team and your employees:

      1. Is your Vision or Purpose defined – i.e. written down?
      2. Is your Vision or Purpose succinct and easy to understand?
      3. Is your Vision or Purpose compelling enough to allow you to stand out and rally others around it?
      4. How, who, when and where do you communicate your Vision or Purpose?
      5. Does your Vision or Purpose embody your highest order realization for the organization?
      6. Can your external stakeholders find your Vision or Purpose?
      7. Do all your employees know your Vision or Purpose?
      8. Do your external (e.g. Customers) and internal (e.g. Employees) stakeholders ‘see’ your Vision or Purpose in your behaviors, priorities, products and services?
      9. Do you review and revise your Vision and Purpose on a regular basis?

Each of these questions can lead to a number of additional questions before you can properly diagnose the root cause – keep asking until you get there!

Tools and Methods

Here are some tools and methods to consider in ensuring your Vision or Purpose is doing more good than harm:

      1. Facilitated Visioning Sessions
      2. Facilitated Focus Groups
      3. Customer/Employee Surveys and Analysis
      4. Vision or Purpose Communication Plan
      5. Storytelling Techniques to Communicate your Vision

What do you Think?

Is your Vision or Purpose working well for your organization?

If not, where is the breakdown occurring?

What tools or methods would you propose to ensure your Vision or Purpose are helping rather than hurting your organization?

 

Next week we’ll explore the Organizational Pain associated with your Strategy, Goals and Objectives. Want help with your organizational pain? Click here to find out more.

Are Your Customers in Pain?

By | Company Growth, Pain Assessment | No Comments

In my last blog, I talked about Where to Look for Organizational Pain. Over the next weeks, I will be exploring each of those locations where organizational pain can reside, in a little more depth. I will also provide some tools or methods for finding the root cause of the pain so you can begin relieving the pain in the discussed area.

The first area to look for organizational pain is with your Customers

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It’s your Customer or client for whom you exist. If something isn’t going right for them, they will eventually leave. If you are not earning the trust and respect of new Customers, you won’t be able to grow. There is a lot of focus now on Voice of the Customer (VOC). In this day and age of social media, with things going viral at lightening speeds, one dissatisfied Customer can impact hundreds, if not thousands, of your current and future Customers. Make sure they are not in pain from your products or services or suffer pain trying to do business with you. Check in and listen to your Customers.

Begin Probing

Like a doctor does with us as patients, ask questions and probe so you can properly diagnose the real issue and begin working to relieve it.

Here are some questions you might want to ask your customers, yourself, your leadership team and possibly your employees:

      1. Do you know who your customer is?
      2. Do your customers know who you are?
      3. Are you reaching your intended customers?
      4. Are your customers satisfied?
      5. Why are you having trouble growing your customer base?
      6. Why are your customers leaving you?
      7. Do you fully understand what your customers want or expect?
      8. Do your customers feel special?
      9. Do your customers trust and respect you?
      10. Is it easy for your customers to do business with you?
      11. Is it easy for your customers to provide feedback to you?
      12. Are your customers receiving a fair value for your products or services?

Each of these questions can lead to a number of additional questions before you can properly diagnose the root cause – keep asking until you get there!

Tools and Methods

Here are some tools and methods to consider in further diagnosing the pain symptoms in order to get to the root cause:

      a. Facilitated Focus Groups
      b. Facilitated Brainstorming Sessions
      c. Customer Satisfaction Surveys and Analysis
      d. Market Research and Analysis
      e. Marketing Plan Development and Execution
      f. Value Stream Mapping

What do you Think?

What probing questions might you have to find the root cause of your Customers’ Pain?

What tools or methods would you propose to find the root cause of your Customers’ Pain?

Next week we’ll explore the Organizational Pain associated with your Purpose or Vision. Want help with your organizational pain? Click here to find out more.

 

 

Organizational Pain

By | Company Growth, Pain Assessment | No Comments

Where to Look

In my last blog, I talked about Why It’s Important to Relieve the Organizational Pain. Now, I want to explore the various ‘places’ in your organization that could be either a symptom of the pain or the root cause of the pain. I look at an organization holistically and focus in these nine areas:

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1.  Your Customer.

It’s your Customer or client for whom you exist. If something isn’t going right for them, they will eventually leave. If you are not earning the trust and respect of new Customers, you won’t be able to grow. There is a lot of focus now on Voice of the Customer (VOC). In this day and age of social media, with things going viral at lightening speeds, one dissatisfied Customer can impact hundreds, if not thousands, of your current and future Customers. Make sure they are not in pain from your products or services or suffer pain trying to do business with you. Check in and listen to your Customers.

2. Your Purpose or Vision.

Your Purpose or Vision defines not only who you are, but also what you want to be. If you are not clear about who you are, or want to be, and/or do not communicate it frequently, anyone associated with your organization – inside and outside – will be confused or you will miss opportunities. Having no clear and concise Purpose or Vision can cause pain throughout the organization. Focus on the three C’s for Purposes and Visions: clear, concise and communicated.

3. Your Strategy, Goals and Objectives.

Your Strategy, Goals and Objectives define how you are going to achieve your Purpose or Vision. They should be long-term (3 – 5 years), so the time horizon is long enough to ensure you’re building in time for innovation, as well as ensuring you have adequate resources to achieve what you want. Like an unclear Purpose or Vision, not having a clear Strategy, Goals or Objectives can cause pain throughout the organization. It’s extremely important to not only articulate who you are/want to be, but also how you plan to make it happen. Again, clarity and communication are essential, as well as timely review and refresh of your strategy timeline.

4. How You Plan the Work.

If adequate time is not taken on planning out the work, to actually make your Strategy, Goals and Objectives happen, then that work is all for naught. If what you are/want to be and how you are going to get there is not turned into actionable plans, with owners, timing, deliverables and resources well defined, everyone will have their own interpretation of what needs to get done. Huge amounts of organizational waste (e.g. cost, time, duplication of effort, etc.) creep in and suck the life out of an organization. Don’t allow this painful waste to take over your organization – ensure you have clear, concise and communicated action plans in place with clear deliverables and accountability. Have the roadmap everyone can follow.

5.  Your Personnel.

Many organizations claim their employees are their most important assets. Yet, according to Gallup’s® – State of the American Workplace Report 2013: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders, 70% of the workforce is disengaged (somewhat present, but not inspired by their work or their supervisors). This would tell me there is a lot of pain in the area of your Personnel. Because people are individuals and there is no one size fits all solution to their organizational pain, there are a number of aspects that need to be looked at to find the root cause of the pain your Personnel are experiencing. We will explore more of this in upcoming blogs.

6.  How You’re Organized.

The size and culture of your organization typically plays a great deal into How You’re Organized. Your Organizational structure defines the framework in which your organization operates. There are a variety of models that have been introduced and implemented across all industries over time (e.g. functional, product-based, matrix); some having more success than others. Again, no one size solution or organizational structure fits every organization. To prevent, reduce or eliminate the pain in your organization, though, the organizational structure must absolutely be a support, rather than a hindrance, to achieving your Purpose or Vision and your Strategy, Goals and Objectives.

7.  The Work.

Does the Work that goes on in your organization support your Purpose or Vision and Strategy, Goals and Objectives? Does it add value to the product or service going to Your Customer? If not, why are you doing it? As an organizational leader, do you even know all the work that goes on in your organization? Do you really know what you’re paying for on a day-to-day basis? The Work, itself, can be a source of lots of organizational pain, as well as manifest some serious pain symptoms.

8.  How the Work Gets Accomplished.

If every one of your Personnel must figure out how the Work Gets Accomplished on their own or through informal conversations with a co-worker, a lot of pain can surround the work. People can be very creative and often want to do their own thing. If the Work in your organization gets reinvented with each new employee, again, imagine all the waste to your organization. There should be documented processes (or workflows) and standards (work instructions) to be followed, so everyone is Accomplishing the Work in the same way. Frequent auditing and review of the processes and standards ensures that bottlenecks, errors, non-valued added steps and misunderstandings do not creep into How the Work is Accomplished and starts causing organizational pain.

9.  How are You Doing?

If you’re not watching where you are going, you could cause your organization a great deal of pain (e.g. competitor threats, sales not meeting goals, etc.). Depending on how ‘pain free’ the above eight areas of focus are, you should have some very specific things that you can measure over time (e.g. weekly, quarterly, annually) to determine whether or not you are on track. And if you’re not, it’s important to have a disciplined process in place to take remedial action before the organization suffers too much pain.

 

Over the next several weeks we will dig deeper into some of these organizational focus areas, looking at how pain can manifest in one area, yet its root cause occurring in another area and discuss different tools and methods for finding and relieving the pain. Want help with your organizational pain? Click here to find out more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relieving the Organizational Pain

By | Company Growth, Pain Assessment | No Comments

Why it’s Important

Any organisms, including organizations, are susceptible to pain throughout their lifetime. This pain may be temporary or short-term and you have a good idea as to the cause of the pain. Some pain is long-term or chronic and you’re not always sure what the real cause is to the pain.

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Look at the human organism compared to an organizational organism:

Babies and Start-Ups

When we’re babies, we suffer a lot of pain. As babies, we all suffered from hunger, wet diapers, sleepiness and gas – that’s why we cried. Many babies also suffer from other ailments and may not always survive the vulnerable state they’re in, should they have a serious ailment. Start-up organizations suffer a number of pains, such as unpredictable cash flow, low reputation, lack of marketing, etc. They eventually work through these pains or don’t survive if they become too vulnerable to the pains.

Teenagers and Growing Organizations

Teenagers are most susceptible to growth spurts, which cause their bodies to feel the pain of this growth in their muscles and joints. Their parents feel the pain of higher grocery and clothing bills to keep up with the growing teenager. When an organization goes through a growth spurt, it can suffer from the pain of not having enough resources to keep up or a strong enough infrastructure to support the growth spurt.

Adults and Mature Organizations

Adults often suffer any number of pains, be they physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, etc. A person’s experiences, health, temperament, support systems, etc. all play a role in how they face and deal with the pains. Likewise, mature organizations often suffer from a variety of pains, whether they be economic, customer-related, staffing-related, etc. Their leadership, health, culture and infrastructure will all play a role in how they weather the pain and address it.

Seniors and Declining Organizations

Human organisms eventually die. If we’re lucky enough to survive early death, we may live into our 80’s or 90’s, and some even into their 100’s. Seniors’ bodies begin to wear out, their intellect declines, their finances are fixed and/or declining – all causing a variety of pains to themselves and their loved ones. Organization organisms have an advantage over humans, in that in theory, they do not have to die. Many do, though, over time. As with humans, their infrastructure gets fragile, their intellect or innovation is harder to come by or ignored or their financial resources can no longer support them.

With humans having central nervous systems, we are usually fully aware when we are in pain. Though, there are some situations, such as with mental illness, that we are not necessarily aware that we are in pain. Others around us may see the pain before we do. When we experience pain, we try to find solutions to relieve the pain as quickly as we can. Pain causes us to not feel our best, work at our best, or be the best child, parent, partner, relative or friend. It distracts us from really living. We may not address the root cause right away, but with enough perseverance most of us eventually get to the root cause and get rid of the pain. We may need to bring in some additional help to relieve the pain.

Organizations, depending on their size, culture and age, may not always be aware they are in pain. They may ignore the signs of pain. When they do become aware of the pain, they often treat the symptom rather than getting to the root cause. By only addressing symptoms, the pain will eventually reoccur or manifest itself in some other area(s) of the organization. As with humans, pain causes an organization to not be their best and can cause additional pain to their customers, employees, environment and future. If you know or suspect your organization is in pain, address it as quickly as possible, and make sure you get to the root cause of the pain. Bring in help, if necessary, to find the cause and relieve the pain! Be the best you can be.

Want help with your organizational pain? Click here to find out more.

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