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Posted: February 08, 2012

Five steps to achieve radical success

It starts with the big red dot

Steve Sorensen

Picture this: You've just arrived in a large city and it's your first time there. You've popped out of the airport, tube, train station, subway, then if you're like me, the first thing you do is look for the map of the city or area.

On that map is the wonderful big red dot, the "you are here" dot. The big red dot has saved me many a misguided footstep and cab fare because it gives me the perspective of where I am and where it is that I'm going. Yes, there are terrific apps that have mapping features but nothing like the perspective of actually standing "there" and getting a lay of the land.

A critical tool we consultants use is the "big red dot" in your business. In other words, how can we help you figure out the best direction for your company if we don't have the perspective of where you are now? Cultural audits are the mile markers to determine success with our plans. How will we know if we are consistently building the high performing organization?

Here are five tools that we use to help orient organizations on their "big red dot."

1. The voice of the customer.
It's difficult to make good and proper decisions in a vacuum. Success stems from the organizations precise knowledge and unequivocally accurate understanding of the voice of your customer. At minimum their expectations, their loyalty factor, their customer lifetime value, etc. down to the penny. (No, there is no software that will provide you these data points; if you're depending CRM or SFA, stop.) We use Customer 360's with our clients because it means the difference between an organization being radically successful and wishful thinking based on a static snapshot from a software program. Customer engagement programs are designed to accurately get customer intelligence, don't hide behind CRM/SFA.

2. The voice of your workforce.
What did you glean from your last workforce cultural audit? Are you effectively implementing and effectively use that collective knowledge? Do you proactively seek out additional data and check progress within. This tool is pure gold when it comes to employee engagement effectiveness. Statistics show that on average, 19 percent of workers are fully engaged, and the same percentage are actively disengaged. That means if you're not effectively moving the other 62 percent up into engaged and removing those that continue to be disengaged, you've got huge problem. Audit often and take the strategic road to higher workforce engagement.

3. Predictive hiring, hiring for velocity.
Upon determining the outcome of your cultural audit you know exactly where you stand on your hiring effectiveness. I doubt that your hiring strategy is to find the "not really the best, and certainly not the brightest" workforce. Of the small businesses in the U.S., 61 percent say that finding capable talent is their biggest challenge. I often find the challenge is deeply rooted in the hiring strategy or lack thereof. When I was hiring my teams I was graded on my hires. This made finding the right candidate mission critical. I had to think about my turnover rates as I was graded and how ridiculous high costs associated with losing people negatively impacted my P&L.
There exists an arsenal of assessment programs that will not only uncover the predictability of success as well as that workers capability. Not only does this take the voodoo out of the hiring process, it allows the organization to effectively embed those best and brightest within your workforce.

4. Develop your people.
From the cultural audit, you're able to determine what's lacking in developing your people. If you're saying to yourself at this moment, my people are developed that's why I hired them or we don't have the budget to develop your people, then you're a house on fire and don't know it.
I find it incredible that some organizations spend more on software and machines than in development. Software/hardware used as tools to enhance worker performance are only as good as those who keep it running smoothly. The companies that will thrive in the future have implemented and nurtured "learning organizations" giving their people a reason to stay, improve productivity, worker morale and ultimately profitability.

I sometimes find a resistance to the training of business skills. I had an executive tell me last week, "We're not spending dollars on training because we're focused on the bottom line right now." Developing your people IS the bottom line. This executive basically said that mediocrity rules here, there's no future for the best and brightest, we'll live with high turnover. They've marginalized their workforce and have no strategic plan of improving top line or bottom line revenue growth.
Imagine organizations creating a leadership pipeline to develop high potentials and improve employee morale and productivity. They win big by becoming the employer of choice, allowing for strategic hiring, reducing turnover costs and the ultimate win: effective customer retention. If you're not doing this now, you're behind the curve.

5. Tune into metrics, and manage the numbers strategically.
I am a fan of the trim tab theory. A trim tab - the small rudder that actually turns a ship or plane - is effective because it moves huge ships with very small increments of degree, allowing corrections to course even during a turn. Wholesale changes result in confusion, a breakdown of communication and loss of productivity.

The big red dot is to determine where you're standing and giving a perspective on where you want to go. Begin with cultural audits, followed by customer 360's and executive 360's. Nothing spells success more than developing a team strategy, getting enterprise-wide buy-in, 20/20 communication paths, customer-centric modeling, leadership (real leadership) learning, motivated, engaged workers and understanding your big red dot. It can be done and is being done right now - maybe by your competition.

 

Steve Sorensen has spent more than 30 years helping companies achieve a competitive advantage by improving their sales strategy. Steve's experience includes Vice-President of a Fortune 500 company, Manager of Corporate Accounts for a Fortune 500 company and Western States/Western Canada Regional Sales Manager. As president of Enlighten-360, LLC, Steve uses his wealth of experience to help companies achieve increased revenue and velocity of growth through improved sales strategies. He can be reached at 720.343.0033 or steve@Enlighten360.com.

 

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