In today’s business environment, it is not enough to stay on a level playing field with your competition: it is an essential ingredient in the formula for success to lead out your markets. Turbulence is a great place to be as long as you are the one creating that turbulence and defining the market. That leader’s position is the one that commands top margin performance and value to shareholders. Having lead a number of successful global transformations, I think it is time to net this process out to the four steps that will get you there, quickly.
Know where you are heading.
Looking at competitors and what is possible is not enough to create a leadership vision of where you are going. You have to search out what is missing from everyone else’s business models that provide opportunities. When you start with leadership vision, none of the limitations of the current situations will get in the way of creating your own vision. This is not to say that limitations do not exist, they do, and it is simply that real leadership vision comes from where you want to be, not where you are.
Know what you have and what you don’t have.
One of the advantages of working with interim professionals is that they have seen a number of companies from different industries and cultures. You can parachute a team into a company and get the lay of the land in a very short time. The have to make quick assessments of what resources are available and what is missing. This is the first step in determining the delta from where you want to be and current baseline state.
Set a direction.
The next step is to set a midlevel performance target. That being said it is my practice to use Best Practices as a midpoint not an end game. Most companies are talking about and doing what it takes to implement Best Practices. So if everyone is using this as a model then Best Practices put you in the middle of the pack not in a leadership role. Real value in a company does not come from middle of the road performance as the end game.
Share the vision with everyone.
Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves. Share your vision and listen to what people have to say about your shared direction. Some of the best ideas come from the people who have been on the job and what they have to say may just provide the gems you are looking for to make change rapidly. Faster is better in the case of change we need to move quickly in the new direction and be able to make decisions quickly as there will be many of them on your path. When you know the direction in which you are headed it is easier to evaluate decisions.
Some final thoughts.
We live in a world ruled by the Pareto Principle. This means that twenty percent of the decisions you will make will yield eighty percent of the difference in getting the results you want. You do not need everyone in you company involved you need everyone aware so that you can get the ten percent who will carry your message to the other ninety. The ten percent who take an active, productive role in your business transformation.