Your company has been profitable, yet you feel it is not as successful as it could be. Why? Often it is because a business does not place enough emphasis on leadership and organizational efficiency as its guiding principles.
High-performing companies are effective at all levels. They are industry leaders where employees want to work and feel they have a stake in both their own and the company’s success. These are the businesses that really last in the long term.
Striving to transform your company from good to great is definitely worth the effort. All it requires is the following:
- A Clear Vision
Your company must understand why it exists and express that in a mission statement that everyone clearly understands. Create guiding principles and values to support that statement as well. You may want to post these principles and values on a wall as a reminder, but it should be somewhere easy to read, not like a picture that you hang up and forget to notice. (I know one firm that stenciled its mission statement behind its reception desk, which was very effective, since visitors noticed and commented favorably on the list.)
Plan where you want your company to be in three to five years in terms of revenue, growth and other goals of importance, such as improving environmental performance. Then build upon these goals as a way to maintain your company’s brand at every level, especially employee involvement, including volunteering the firm to support charitable causes such as cancer research.
- Development of High Performance Teams
Teams of representative employees can and should develop processes to improve what they accomplish at work for your company to succeed, but only if they have clarity about their ultimate goals and function cohesively at the outset. Your team members must not only like and trust each other, but also be willing to debate passionately and express themselves with each other in order to reach a consensus without any hard feelings thereafter.
Your team should have participants who want a strong balance between work and home life as well. High-performing companies allow this to occur.
Execute your vision as determined by your high-performance teams through goal setting, benchmarks and tracking. As a manager, you must demand a high yet reasonable level of excellence, quality, safety and other factors from your staff, then share the results with all involved. Reward the participants who have succeeded with appropriate recognition honoring them for their achievements. A good way to measure this is establishing a critical path outline with three to five metrics to measure employees’ performance graphically every month. This holds them accountable for reaching benchmarks and allows you to track their improvements.
High-performing companies also emphasize working smart and recruiting the best talent available, which means matching up individuals whose personalities complement your company culture. I recommend my clients use the Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) behavioral assessment to measure prospective employees’ assertiveness, sociability, calmness and conformity, but similar tests can work as well. The goal is to avoid the expense of a poor hire to a company, due to both tangibles and intangibles (e.g., cost to reputation for major mistakes made), which can cost your firm hundreds of thousands of dollars according to recent studies.
Empower your employees as much as possible, which saves you money and time and encourages them to brainstorm plans that can benefit your firm.
Becoming a high-performing company is not an overnight process. My approach is to assess a company through interviews with employees about what needs improvement, as owners typically fail to share problems the staff notices. From that point, making changes with vision, high-performance team development and discipline can take anywhere from a year to 18 months, depending on the size of the firm. But the results, if implemented correctly, can produce a high-performing company where quality people will want to work and remain for the long term.
Willy Stewart is president and CEO of Stewart Consulting, which works with CEOs and senior management teams across a diverse collection of industries to assist in maximizing human capital efficiency. For more information, visit http://stewart-cg.com/.