Developing a Strategy at the Entrepreneurial Stage
(Part 3 of 3)
Okay you have created a stable set of processes that are delivering value to customers consistently. You have assessed your employees and leaders and identified skill gaps related to problem solving.
Year 2 and Beyond
Where do you go from here?
Your second year and beyond continuous improvement strategy will be an exciting one. We can now begin to implement basic improvement strategies that will transform aspects of your company culture, the learning of your employees as well as integrate effective leadership principles deeper into the organization. We will follow the Process, Product, People categories referenced in the previous article for consistency.
You have stabilized customer facing processes so now we want to improve these one step further and begin to look at all other business processes in turn.
I recommend that you document the work instructions of each position. Rather than the traditional standard operating procedure which is written on a template, I recommend video procedures. In this way documenting is easy, and the final product is more easily used by your employee group. Beyond their benefit in usability, video procedures are easier to follow and can be watched multiple times to “get it”. Also if you operate in a business model with high turnover, video procedures are a cost effective way to quickly get employees up to speed.
With customer facing processes stabilized, you can now look to stabilize your remaining business processes. You will undoubtedly have already found that the causes of issues in your customer facing processes are often coming from one or more of your other processes. Stabilizing these will lead to significant improvements in your customer value creation. Be certain to look at all remaining processes in turn as any one of them can cause challenges in your business.
At this point with processes stabilized you should now have a clearer perspective on the value your products / services represent. It is likely that you will have found some challenges that process stabilization will not resolve.
Now let's get down to the root of your problems.
My recommendation is that as part of your year two continuous improvement strategy that you incorporate a simple problem solving engine in your business.
This engine must be all the way down to the shop floor as this is where problems are best solved. The simplest engine to install is a three step model:
This elegant small engine can dramatically change your business performance in not only further stabilizing performance but actually improving performance as problems are identified and resolved.
I recommend that now we conduct a gap assessment between the skill set of your leadership team and the skills necessary for effective leadership. In doing this you can build individual training and development plans for your entire leadership team. With the leadership team setting the example, employees will take notice that learning is the expectation and improvement is the destination.
While every business will be somewhat different, listed below are a number of possible skills you will want to develop in your team:
With the assessment complete, identify skill gaps specifically in the communication, leadership and problem solving areas and build a plan to address the deficiencies.
Learn more about Developing a Strategy of Continuous Improvement
If you' re ready to begin building your continuous improvement strategy, we're here to help. Schedule your complementary STRATEGY SESSION and together we will design a plan that fits your unique business.
Dr. Ron Hurst
Avid cyclist, dog lover, life long learner, enthusiastic problem seeker. My life's work is to challenge leaders like you to grow your abilities to create empowering, positive, high performing workplaces.
Developing Leaders Inc.
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