Awesomely Simple - John Spence
Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action
This is a synopsis only. RESULTS.com recommends you buy the original book.
The key to business success, based on the author’s work with thousands of organizations (including GE, Microsoft, IBM, and Abbot Labs), is tied to the disciplined application of the Six Principles of Business Success:
Application of these principles may be simple, but not easy. It requires leaders with a passion about their business and its success, persistence, practice, and perspective to see patterns and trends that others do not.
- Vivid Vision
- Best People
- Robust Communication
- Sense of Urgency
- Disciplined Execution
- Extreme Customer Focus
Whether you lead two people or 2,000 it is critical that you have a clear, compelling and extremely well-communicated vision of where the organization is headed and what it stands for. The mission (or purpose) is why the company exists, the values are the guidelines for behavior, and the vision (BHAG©) provides a vivid description of where the company will be in the future.
The key to Mission, Values and Vision (M/V/V) is not just creating them, but they need to be communicated and applied throughout the organization.
Ideas for bringing M/V/V alive in the organization include:
- Rewarding employees for demonstrating the values.
- Using M/V/V in the recruiting process by creating specific interview questions to identify alignment to them.Communicate repeatedly these elements in company newsletters, presentations, and signage. Create fun posters, apparel and other items that reflect M/V/V.
- Audit how well the company is living its M/V/V through customer or employee surveys.
The success of your business is directly tied to the quality of the people you have on your team. Many companies say, “Our people are our most important asset,” but very few have put in place a system to make talent management a key strategic advantage. With the right people in the right culture, success and profitability will result.
Attracting talent is a strategic commitment that will take ongoing time and effort. Leaders should maintain a roster of great people for every position, whether the position is currently vacant or not (talk to people now who may fill a position five years from now) and spend time identifying and keeping in touch with these individuals.
The best talent is attracted to a strong culture, and an organization with clear M/V/V.
Talented people demonstrate the 5 ‘C’s – Competence, Character, Collaboration, Communication and Commitment.
Hiring the best talent is not enough. Once hired, people need to be highly engaged in the organization. Engaged employees is the single greatest driver of customer satisfaction and loyalty, and overall company success.
Engaging employees requires a clear and compelling M/V/V, along with giving them an environment where they can progress and contribute, and establishing leadership that is authentic and approachable.
Communication breaks down in many organizations at two levels, interpersonally and organizationally.
Strong interpersonal communication involves open dialog, building rapport, active listening, awareness of body language, and a willingness to engage in constructive conflict. Constructive conflict is difficult and requires courage and honesty.
Robust communcation at an organizational level builds from the interpersonal. Leaders must model strong interpersonal communication skills, while being authentic and brutally honest in confronting reality and communicating the decisions and strategies moving forward.
Sense of Urgency
In business today, speed rules. If you cannot move quickly the competition will - not to mention that customers hate waiting and are becoming more and more conditioned to instant response.
Speed requires making decisions, often in an environment of imperfect information. To make good decisions …
With these components, all employees can make decisions about their priorities; deciding what to do and, more importantly, what NOT to do.
- information must flow easily within the organization. There can be no ‘hoarding’ of information, knowledge or learnings, and it must move without friction.
- intended results or outcomes must be clear.
Bureaucracy can be the enemy – seek to eliminate hierarchy, bureaucracy, inefficiencies and any activities that do not add value, serve customers, or make employees more effective.
Many companies have grand ambitions, but only about 10% of businesses can effectively execute on their strategic priorities in a disciplined and thorough manner. Urgency and discipline can exist together and must be balanced.
Disciplined Execution requires:
- Systems and processes that align to strategic goals.
- Individual objectives that tie strongly to corporate objectives.
- Mechanisms for continuous improvement or innovation of processes.
- Give people the resources, tools and training to perform well in their roles.
Extreme Customer Focus
At the end of the day, the only critic whose opinion counts is the customer’s, and the company that owns the “voice of the customer,” owns the marketplace and will outpace the competition.
Know the ‘moments of truth’ for your customers – what are the key points where the market interfaces with your company? Determine how to make each of these moments a highly satisfying interaction, and recognize that front-line employees are typically the most important element of these interactions.
Characteristics of great service include reliability, professionalism, empathy, responsiveness and ambience.