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Tune-up time … do you have a handle on your “Inside Big 5” … probably not! February 19, 2010

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You can breakdown the internal workings of any company into five fundamental categories... The Inside Big Five.  Everyone in the company should know your approach in all of these critical areas.  They include how you interact with your people, the relative understanding of your  product and services, how you handle your ongoing business planning, how you manage your fundamental processes and finally the execution of  your day-to-day performance.

It all sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? … if you are indeed already attending to each of these areas.   Obviously it gets more complicated in the actual execution, but starting with these fundamentals is essential to understanding your business.  Frequently a professional business detective can more easily uncover the strengths and weaknesses in your business.  But this is only possible if someone has real access and you allow that person to come in and understand how you approach all of these areas.

Think of it as a surprise safety inspection… if your are really doing all of the things where you want to be performing efficiently, then a real check-up will validate your operation.  If not, then the worst that can be said is that you will begin to understand more about those areas where you need to direct your efforts.

This type of check-up really has little to do with changing your business plan or making radical adjustments in your corporate goals… or does it?  It really has meant that people begin to understand where and how and what they might need to be doing to actually improve productivity.  Too often we take for granted that what we did last year or how we did something for the past few years, will more than allow us to continue to make progress.

In this day and time if you are standing still… you are going backwards.  Call the Performance Detective for your first professional check-up and you’ll be surprised what you find.

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What Really Drives Business Excellence? February 15, 2010

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Clambering for a new solution… everyone talks about the latest business guru or most recent business philosophy de jour.  We discuss the merits of what you should do to have your business improve its sales or expand its market.  It is frequently mentioned that we must communicate a new approach or instill a new spirit or establish a new set of goals in order to truly grow your business.  But for all of the books or authors or even latest fads it frequently comes down to two questions…  How do we get everyone on the same page?  And … How do we begin?

As the Performance Detective … I see people go to great lengths to try and understand what needs to be done.  The short of it, is that most people don’t know what has to be done and are prevented from doing it because they get lost in managing everything but the basics.  They either lack an understanding of how people are brought together with a well developed plan or product or they haven’t assembled a business team that can successfully implement a value-added strategy.

We have all read long ago about successes or heard about Tom Peter’s observations in his “In Search of Excellence” series, and we have listened to recent stories of success as identified by Jim Collins in “Good to Great”.    How do you capture all of the elements that these different companies and different people have in common?  Well in many respects it is very hard because people are creatures of habit and become locked-in a certain way of doing things or just in how they approach their jobs.  On the other hand it might not be as hard as you think to exact change in a positive way.

Several basics that help companies compete at a very high level; start with the approach of their people.  And it is quite important that everyone feel valued to bring their best to the table on a regular basis. An important element is to put people before policies and to insure that you communicate an atmosphere of positive energy and make no excuses for wanting the best.

High performance is not high maintenance and if you want customers-for-life you take the time to let your own people know that they are “your” customers for life and you believe in them and believe in their decisions.

You can establish the right team by both promoting managers and executives with a thirst for continual improvement and also weeding out people that are too caught up in the position itself.  Don’t even address strategy and policies and approach until you have the right team in place and you know how to successfully interact with one another.

Having a positive action oriented organization is the end of the beginning to develop an outstanding organization.  When your own people respect and believe in one another, you will have built an organization that will strive for the very best at every level.  You will excel from business planning and product development to valued sales performance to great customer service.

Understand that the small details mean a lot to the bigger picture.  But you will never get to that big picture unless you have the trusted team that can deliver in each area of your business.  John Miller identifies personal attributes in his QBQ work and then in his more recent book provides 47 ways to make your organization Outstanding. Without a team that is first knowledgeable on how to pursue excellence or simply expecting every member of their own group to interact effectively by osmosis … then the delivery of real company-wide Excellence is indeed impossible.  The real secret is in establishing a team which understands the team dynamic and one which believes in personal responsibility then being able to deliver outstanding service at every turn because it is part of the innate business culture you have consciously nurtured and bred.

The Performance Detective