Is your team healthy and aligned? (10 questions)

I am just back from presenting “Scaling Up Your People for Growth” two times last week– one to a startup incubator and once for the Scaling Up Workshop in Niagara on the Lake with established growing companies. (Take a look below for a short summary of the “People” section from the book.)

One of the exercises we used at the workshop was for the owners/ founders to evaluate the “alignment” of their team.

The leader’s final job is “to keep the main thing the main thing” — to keep the organization on message and everyone heading in the same direction”  -Verne Harnish, in his book “Scaling Up,”

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Here is a list of questions you can use to evaluate the health and alignment of your team:

  1. ​​​​​​​ The executive team is “healthy” (no dysfunctional behaviors) 
  2. ​​​​​​​ Everyone is aligned with the #1 thing that needs to be accomplished to move the company forward 
  3. ​​​​​​​ Communication rhythm is established and information moves through the organization accurately and quickly
  4. ​​​​​​​ Every facet of the organization has a person assigned with accountability for ensuring goals are met 
  5. ​​​​​​​ Ongoing employee input is collected to identify obstacles and opportunities  
  6. ​​​​​​​ Reporting and analysis of Customer Feedback data is as frequent and accurate as financial data 
  7. ​​​​​​​ Core Values and Purpose are “alive” in the organization * 
  8. ​​​​​​​ Employees can accurately articulate the key components of the company’s strategy: Who are our core customers? What is our brand promises? Where does the company sees itself in 5 years? What is the company’s elevator pitch?
  9. ​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week [“everyone has a number”] 
  10. ​​​​​​​ The company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone 

​​​​​​​ I am sure you have experienced the challenges when “one hand does not know what the other is doing” — and you know it is not the most effective way to run a team or a business.

​​​​​​​–> So take a few minutes to rate your team on the 10 questions above, and see where you need to improve clarity, focus, and alignment for a healthy team and to achieve more success.

4 Essential Plans for Predictable Successful Business Growth

​​​​​​​If you want to “grow” your business 20% or more in the next year… what is your plan to make it happen?

​​​​​​​Do you have an achievable sales plan? Great!

​​​​​​​Now:  

  • ​​​​​​​What about a People Plan to handle the additional work and keep your customers happy? 
  • Are you planning any changes to your process or technology to be more efficient? 
  • Do you have a plan to handle the increased cash needs that always come with growth? 

​​​​​​​Most companies focus on the sales side of growth and just let the People and Operations side just figure itself out… this approach causes the “growing pains.”

You might be surprised to know that I speak to business owners every month who want to grow 20% next year, but they don’t have a plan to get the sales and/or handle the extra work.

“More companies die from indigestion than starvation.” – Dave Packard, Hewlett Packard​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​According to the book “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish, these are 4 warning signs that you aren’t ready for more sales:

  • ​​​​​​​Your profits are at or below the industry average [or you don’t know what that is]
  • Processes are not running smoothly now
  • There is drama on the team or from customers from missed deadlines, increasing mistakes, lack of resources, and “communication” issues
  • People are working overtime to fix problems

At the very time when the focus becomes more important, your key people start being “too busy” putting out fires to work “on” the business.

Maybe you are doing this too… 

Getting dragged into daily work instead of setting aside time to evaluate, plan and work on the key projects that will improve the business.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A few real-life examples:

​​​​​​​I spoke with three business owners this week who are living this right now.

  • One almost doubled the revenue but the profits plummeted. 
  • another doesn’t have the hourly staff in place to handle several new clients so she is filling in and training $12 an hour staff. 
  • A third added more customers but one technician team “burned out” and quit… now he is back in the field and everyone is working 50+ hours handling the overload, and revenues are down 20% and profits are zero. Ouch!

​​​​​​​What is the solution?

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Build the 4 Foundations to Scale Up– Strategy 6 People + Execution + Cash– all TOGETHER. 

Changes to one of these four impacts the other 3– so you need to look at the “whole picture” of your business.

​​​​​​​

[from “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish- graphic from book summary by Readingraphics]