A Workforce Multiplier

A company’s executive leadership teams historically focus their attention and resources on improving financial performance … tangible “hard-side” results. There is an almost endless list of quantifiable measures captured on spreadsheets, tracking individual and team performance. Here are some.

Revenue Profit Margins Client Growth
Market Share Units Sold Cost of Marketing
Cost of Sales Production Costs … and many more

“Soft-Side” components are mostly cultural intangibles, which are harder to quantify. Here are just a few.

Leadership Committed to Innovation and Excellence

Employee Buy-in to Company Vision and Mission

Engaged Employees (Empowered to Adapt)

Organizational Transparency and Accountability

While a company’s culture is sometimes seen as a low priority—as far less than a pressing requirement—it really isn’t. A positive company culture—fully supported by the entire leadership team—can be a powerful force inside a company, empowering its employees to accomplish so much more.

Think of a positive company culture as a workforce multiplier.

Empirical evidence supports that statement. Harvard Business School a few years ago, in a 11-year study of a variety of businesses with either positive or negative cultural attributes, concluded that:

Positive business cultures averaged 682% growth.

Negative business cultures averaged 166% growth.

The difference is striking. Investing in and supporting the development of a positive company culture … literally drives more growth.

Even if organizational performance measures are consistently meeting established business goals and objectives, strengthening company culture can dramatically improve those measures even more. Big change doesn’t happen overnight, but small changes can quickly establish new directions.

What cultural changes are most needed in your business?

Relationships Matter

No man is an island” is the first line of a poem published in 1624 by John Donne. The poem concludes with the line, ”And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

I am NOT steeped in old English poetry, but I remember this poem from my college years as I am a HUGE fan of Ernest Hemingway, the author of an amazing book, For Whom the Bell Tolls, published in 1940. I suspect Donne’s poem was Hemingway’s inspiration for the title. I digress.

This post—taking inspiration from “no man is an island”—is about building and maintaining business relationships. Those relationships can be described in many ways, including relationships both inside and external to a business. All of us are dependent upon numerous types of relationships.

With a focus on business, some are peer relationships with fellow employees. Others are supervisor to direct report relationships. Others are senior management to employees … that they are not directly supervising. Others are relationships that management and other employees have with external entities, such as vendors, prospects, and clients.

Still others are collegial relationships, wherein peers in the market are meeting and networking to accomplish a variety of goals. All are important to each on a personal and/or professional level, and in some instances, to the company’s pursuit of its mission and vision, its continued growth and prosperity. Again, “no man is an island.” Continue reading “Relationships Matter”

Corporate Growth

Prioritize Understanding and Awareness … Rather than Winging it

While Organic and Merger/Acquisition are two common growth strategies, there are others. However, optimizing growth is usually not about the selection of one strategy. Every company makes strategic choices based upon their goals and objectives, their resources and capabilities, and there are always ever-changing market conditions to add more complexity. Selecting the right growth strategy or strategies can be challenging.

Start with finding answers to 5 questions:

  1. Where do growth opportunities exist,
  2. What challenges or gaps must be overcome,
  3. What are the priorities and timing to be implemented,
  4. What are the available internal resources and capabilities, and
  5. What external resources and capabilities are potentially needed?

Smaller companies tend to focus on organic growth strategies, and by improving capabilities with existing employees and hiring talent to expand the pool of prospects and clients. Larger organizations have more options, and more resources to execute multiple strategic initiatives effectively.

The common denominators of successful strategic initiatives – for smaller AND larger companies – require that you first find answers to the five questions above.

At GAPWORX, we believe that Awareness (understanding your Present State) is required to make sound strategic choices, which leads to an Actionable Roadmap and eventually to successful tactical initiatives and Achievement (in your Future State).

As external resources, we refuse to quickly guess or rashly diagnose problems or the possible solutions to them … without facts and without a collaborative discovery process. While we have developed proven methods and processes to help clients solve specific problems, successful projects require a solid foundation achieved through collaboration with each client.

There is a very old saying about making assumptions … we subscribe to it.

Sometimes, what appears to be a huge project, really isn’t. The scope and scale of a project can be deceiving at first. Our commitment is to always define the scope of the project carefully … instead of rushing off to solve it without understanding.

While there are times for “winging it,” we don’t think that is appropriate when we are working for a client.

SPECIAL NOTE: The above comments should not be misconstrued to negate the value of innovation and creativity. Both are extremely important, especially given today’s marketplace and the tsunami of technological innovations that impact every aspect of our personal and professional lives.

Embrace suggestions and ideas from every quarter, from employees and from your customers and vendors. Small changes in process, practices, and products – carefully assessed and implemented – can reap great rewards.