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Leadership's Six Questions For Business Success
2009-04-23 10:37:03

Leading and managing a business is not a complex process. As practitioners of the art and science we choose to make them difficult. This gives us a reason to go to work each day - to sort difficult situations and solve impossible problems. It gives us bragging rights over a martini. Slaying corporate dragons and living with the resulting stress is a national pastime. By making business procedures difficult we can hire experts to sort them out. This becomes a perfect default mechanism. You can always blame failure on the consultant's bad advice. Over years we built up layers of complexity about finances, planning, human resources requirements, and so on. As they get more unsolvable and complicated we have more reasons (read excuses) for not meeting performance requirements. The t-shirt should read, 'Its not the economy - its your bad management - stupid'! My favorite staff area to hammer is the finance department which in reality is the most simple of all business forms. Let me illustrate. You make a big pile of money. This needs to be done on a regular basis. It is called cash flow. During the year you take big chunks from the pile and give it to your suppliers and employee. That called operational expenses. At the end of the year you take another major portion of that and give to your government. That's called taxes. When those piles are removed a small pile is left. That's called profit for you and the shareholders. See how simple it becomes? For my finance friends reading this - don't worry, I will equally insult other staff functions in other articles. Now I am going to take a sword to the Gordian knot to the entire complicated practice of leading and managing a business. When you boil the essence of any business down to its purest form it means asking and answering six basic questions. I recommend you work with your management team to find the in-depth answers to these and subsequent questions. 1. Where am I going? This sets the direction of the company with all its variables. 2. Where am I now? This requires a cold hard look at your current performance levels. 3. How do I plan to get there? What are your strategic goals, smart objectives, and connecting strategies to move from the present to the future? 4. What will stop me? What are the show stoppers along the way? I don't mean management lethargy, timid goal setting, and sluggish accountability. 5. How will I get buy-in from others? Okay, you have to sell it to the employees so it better be plausible. 6. How will I measure my progress? This is where everything breaks down. Do you have the courage to install a system that provides authority, permits responsibility, and demands resulting accountability? In Summary Approach your business requirement with common sense. In the end that is the only business model that actually works.

Source: Leadership's Six Questions For Business Success


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