Friday, September 25, 2009

Maintaining Business Productivity

Business Performance Leadership

7 Critical Elements of Ongoing Productivity

One of the biggest challenges for most people, and for may companies, is to continue to stay alert and fresh in today's fast moving marketplace. Once a process, product or service becomes successful, we all have a tendency to become complacent in its ongoing execution. We fall victim to it being routine and after several quarters or several years of increasing results or even stable performance, we lose an edge on quality. In many case this is not because we don't have a "quality control" metric in place, but rather we may forgo vigilance to the changing market demand or we simply have not considered a natural product life cycle.

Any of us would be hard pressed to always be vigilant, but that is why it is important that we establish a company wide approach and involvement to the "how" and "what" and even "why" of our execution. The underlying issues are intertwined with the entire process we have established and what we expect from every member of our team. For purposes of a quick overview, it is possible to take abroad look at all of the areas that a company needs to address and I break them down into SEVEN critical areas of company-wide performance:

Do you value your team, do you know your team’s strengths and weaknesses and do you encourage new contributions and ongoing tactical contributions?
Do you have a product or service that your customers want, and at a price they can afford, and is it evaluated and updated on a regular basis?
Do you have a process that delivers quality, encourages improvement and is consistently replicated?
Do you encourage reliable performance by maintaining and improving your best practices?
Does your business provide a memorable product, a system for telling your story and something that your customers believe-in and recommend?
Have you developed a pricing strategy and do you have proceeds to reinvest in the business, update support systems and are able to reward your contributing team members?
Do you communicate regularly with your entire team and does your business organization operate with a sense of urgency, commitment and excitement?

All of these elements have a fundamental thread, beyond just accord with a Business Plan itself or the tactical execution of your mission. It comes full circle with a comprehensive approach to what you have defined as a commitment to maintain business and employee excellence. Many books have been written about what it takes to get to the top, like examples cited by In Search of Excellence, A Passion for Excellence, and more recently Good to Great. It is even more important to then get your team self-motivated to actually stay on top, as is illustrated in the recent book A-Ha Performance.

Ultimately it takes a real commitment to develop your people so that everyone has a hand in the complete process and feels motivated to continue. When your business team is built with a commitment to the value of their individual ownership, then the processes and procedures necessary for a continual improvement approach will be part of the goals that the Team aspires to achieve on an ongoing and regular basis.

--- The Performance Detective

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