Thriving Businesses for Generations – Continued; How and Where to Begin

Clark Neuhoff Vision

Last time, I shared a series of recommendations from six multi-generational business owners for how they are successfully navigating the challenges of growing their businesses.  Our panel came up with a list of 25 specific actions, all important and critical things that we need to be doing in our businesses.  But I often get pushback on where to begin and how actually to make this all happen.

As I looked back over the list, I was struck, though not surprised at how closely it mirrors the Six Key Components of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS).  These six components or disciplines go a long way to answer the “how” part.

Vision – Getting everyone in the organization 100 percent on the same pagewith where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

People – Simply put, we can’t do it without great people.  This meanssurrounding yourself with great people, top to bottom, because you can’t achieve a great vision without great people.

Data – Cutting through all the feelings, personalities, opinions and egos and boiling your organization down to a handful of objective numbers that give you an absolute pulse on where things are.

Issues – Becoming great at solving problems throughout the organization – setting them up, knocking them down and making them go away forever.

Process – This is the secret ingredient in your organization.  This means “systemizing” your business by identifying and documenting the core processes that define your way to run your business – getting everyone on the same page with what the essential procedural steps are in your core processes and then getting everyone to follow them so you create consistency and scalability in your organization.

Traction – Bringing discipline and accountability into the organization – becominggreat at execution – taking the vision down to the ground and making it real.

As for “where” to begin, one of the most common frustrations I hear from owners and leaders is around people.   And this is also where we begin with each of our clients.  We all know we have to “get the right people in the right seats” – thank you Jim Collins.  But the critical question is how exactly do I do that?  Two of the most powerful tools that we teach address this head-on. They are the Accountability Chart® and the People Analyzer®.

Accountability Chart – We start by simplifying your organization down to its most basic functions; Sales & Marketing, Operations and Finance and the Integrator who keeps it all together.  We then customize it by splitting them into whatever is right for you, but no more than six or eight major functions.  So with a blank sheet we define the right structure for how best to run your organization and where you see yourselves six to twelve months from now.  No names, just functions and roles or accountabilities.  If we start with the people first, we almost always get it wrong. I know this can be scary, but for the greater good of your business, we define the right and best structure first, then fill in the names.  There may be some changes.  The other rule is that one and only one person can ultimately be accountable for a seat, no shared responsibilities.  Because when we are all responsible, NO ONE is responsible.  With the “seats” defined, we then identify the five key roles for each seat – what is it that we are expecting that person to do for us.

People Analyzer – The next step is to determine what “right people” means for your organization.  Do they share your core values, are they like you. Here we identify/discover what your core values are – those 3 to 7 essential timeless guiding principles that says who you are as people and defines your culture. We then measure whether or not people are exhibiting these core values on a consistent basis.  Nobody’s perfect but are they living out these core values most of the time, about half of the time, or mostly not.  Then identify your minimum acceptable standard of behavior.  We call this setting the bar.  From now on you must consistently hire, fire, develop, reward and recognize based on these core values.  Skills can be taught, but values, attitudes and beliefs are deep inside and typically don’t change.  Now you have a simple black and white tool for identifying who the right people are as well as a tool for managing your people up to your standard of excellence.

With these two tools you can build the right organization with great people.  Everyone’s roles and responsibilities are now crystal clear and you have a mechanism to build a strong and enduring culture.

If you would like free copies of either the Accountability Chart® or the People Analyzer® please let me know and I’ll be happy to send them to you.

Clark Neuhoff
Growth Navigator
The Sextant Company