Sustaining Successful Organizations
As noted previously in The 4 types of organizations – What stage is your Organizational Leadership in?, an organization focused on sustaining success is always building on their successes, they are on the cutting edge. These groups are always challenging themselves and they do not rely on the status quo. Startups, new departments, or new divisions of an organization may evolve from these groups.
Working with successful organizations can be exciting, this doesn’t mean they don’t have their share of problems or challenges. One of their biggest challenges can be convincing people within their organization of the need for constant improvement. It is so easy to rely upon past successes once you reach this stage. I like this industry standard model…
A successful organization is at the peak of the curve at business optimization. The question is: What is next? Do you start to re-invent or repackage your services to stay relevant or do you go with the status quo and go into decline?
Three quick tips for successful organizations to stay on top:
1. Focus on your people
Who are your people? These are your clients, your future clients, and your employees (or members).
I can not stress this one enough! We each have a unique value for specific client groups. Successful organizations know that they have a finite amount of resources and they must identify the clients that are in alignment with their offering. When I started working with an educational non-profit four years ago, they were focusing their marketing efforts on seasonal workers in a resort town. These seasonal workers would be in the community a few months and then move on. This created a lot of turnover in the organization and the added stress of the organization volunteers trying to find these people. Our solution: switch our focus to providing value to professional organizations and businesses. This creates an environment of engaged business owners and professionals. This does not mean that the organization can’t sere the seasonal workers. Like your business, their may be smaller markets that you serve. The lesson is to focus your organization’s finite resources (money, energy, time, volunteers) in the areas that get the most return.
Ask yourself: Is this the best use of my time and resources on this client type or is it better focused elsewhere?
Your employees or members are key differentiators of your organization. Are they engaged with your brand? Are their values in alignment with the organizations? Are you creating opportunities
Your team is evolving as your people grow or as you get new people. They have ideas on how your processes, your products, and your services can be improved. Are you asking for their input and creating opportunities to implement new ideas? Are you creating a safe environment to fail forward? Some of the best lessons are learned through failure.
By focusing on your people, you create a better vision, a better product, or a better service.
2. Stay relevant
This gets back a bit to focusing on your people: what do they want?
How can you stay relevant? Foster an environment of learning. Engage your both your clients and your employees. They will tell you what they want, you just need to be listening. One caveat to take into consideration is that you have to still look to the future.
In these times of fast change, you do not have the luxury of relying on past successes. Your best product or service should be the one you are doing now.
We all have information that other people or clients want to learn. We sometimes don’t know how to phrase it so that clients know that we can help with that pain. How can you rephrase something that you offer so that it serves a new pain point for your clients? Is your services or product still relevant to your clients?
Successful organizations ask themselves these questions. If they can’t repackage a product or service and it is no longer relevant…drop it and move on. Now I am not saying scrap everything and make drastic changes, there are ways to repackage a lot of products and services; to build upon what you already have.
- Refineries have lots of by-products from their various chemical processes. What do they do? They found new markets for the by-products.
- Small, local design shops have a lot of competition when a Lowes or Home Depot comes to town. How could you streamline a certain package of goods or services to address that price point if this is in your target market? How could you use technology to simplify your processes?
- Services are interesting because there are so many ways to repackage them, even across industries. You can contact me if you want to discuss specifics. Contact Yvonne
3. Develop your leadership
You maybe noticing a theme of education and communication. To be and stay successful, you must always be looking to see what the next thing is for your company. Are you giving everybody in your organization the tools needed to succeed. Are you getting the help that YOU need?
Ask yourself: Am I working in my organization or on it?
You need time to do the work that only you can do. You also need time to be setting the direction for your organization. I like to think of this analogy:
Your organization is a ship sailing across the ocean. Without a plan, you may hit land eventually, but will it be where you wanted to land? As the captain of your ship, you are leading it to a specific outcome.
Really think about what success means to YOU and your organization. Are your values aligned? Do you have a vision or direction for what is next? Are you enabling others in your organization to act and then appropriately recognizing them for it?
What do YOU need to do “to Be” or “to Stay” a successful organization?
RESOURCES for further study…
- Good to Great, Jim Collins
- The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes & Posner