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Speed, Simplicity, Clarity … in a drive for Excellence July 1, 2011

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Speed, Simplicity, Clarity… in a drive for Excellence

What does it take to be really  be “Good” at a business today.  Many times we differentiate our discussion for either an early stage business effort or a rework of an existing business.  Essentially it has a whole lot to do with the size of the business and what it takes to accomplish positive change or new growth.  We can focus on the dynamics of delivering a service or a product, but success is in laying out a first approach or a new approach  as the identified goal.  We have an idea that things can be done better or faster or cheaper or the end result/product is just more enjoyable.

So how do we get there?  Many business analysts will provide case studies or approaches for who has succeeded in building the better mousetrap.  Businesses themselves have spent millions trying to get better or just improve in terms of; costs, efficiency, quality, productivity, satisfaction and ultimately profit.

Bottom line is that we evaluate by some sort of results measurement.  How we successfully get to that point is al about how we engage our people in this process.  Success is not only dependent on reaching toward our vision and on our clarity of purpose,  but also on developing a consistent approach which optimizes “what “ we are really intending to deliver to our customers, then optimize time, effort, quality and costs.   If we look at the overall approach of folks like Jason and David at 37 Signals,  they offer that the ultimate strength of success is all about our efficiency in… what we do?… how we do it? … and why we do it?  The power is in the efficient execution and understanding of the essential purpose.

As a detective and coach for bringing excellence to business… I agree that being focused on identifying a shorter and simpler path can be a lynchpin for productivity, it is also ultimately as critical that we stay centered on what measure of excellence we want brought to the entire process.  We are all creatures of habit and by valuing what we do and why we do it, it becomes essential to motivate our people to exceed  and innovate in the entire length of the process from selling to production and from delivery to follow-up.  Better yet… involve your people in the development, identification and execution of real process improvement.  Just do it!

The Performance Detective  @PerformDetectiv

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Keys to Maintaining Business Productivity January 18, 2010

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7 Critical Elements of ongoing Business Productivity

One of the biggest challenges for most people, and for many companies, is to continue to stay alert and stay 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 continual execution.  We fall victim to it being routine  and after several quarters or several years of increasing results or even stable performance… we lose a quality edge.  In many cases this is not because we don’t have “quality control” metrics in place but rather something as simple as an ongoing vigilance to the market itself, or we have simply not considered a natural product life-cycle.

Any of us would be hard pressed to always be vigilant, or to be so  in every situation, but that is why it is important that we establish a company-wide approach to the “how” and “what” and even “why” of our execution.  The underlying issues are all intertwined with the entire process we have established and expect from every member of our team.  For purposes of a quick overview, it is possible to take a broad look at all of areas that a company needs to address and break them down into Seven Critical areas…

1.  PEOPLE :  Do you value your team, do you know your team’s strengths and weaknesses and do you encourage new contributions and tactical innovations.

2.  PRODUCT : Do you have a product or service that your customers want, and at a price that they can afford, and is it evaluated and updated on a regular basis?

3.  PROCESS : Do you have a process that delivers quality, encourages improvement and is consistently replicated?

4.  PERFORMANCE : Do you encourage a reliable performance by maintaining your best practices?

5.  POPULARITY : Does your business provide a memorable product, a system for telling your story and something that your customers believe in and recommend?

6.  PROFIT : Have you developed a pricing strategy and do you have proceeds to reinvest in the business, can update your support systems and are able to reward your team?

7.  PASSION : 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 adherence to the Business Plan itself or the Tactical execution of our mission, it comes full circle with a comprehensive approach to what we 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 years ago by In Search of Excellence, and even what it takes to get your team self motivated  to actually stay on top, like A-Ha Performance.  But ultimately it takes a commitment to develop our people so that everyone has a hand in the 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 continual vigilance, will be part of goals that the Business Team aspires to achieve on an ongoing basis.

— The Performance Detective