Every business owner is looking for ways to improve company performance. But where to start? Management consultants talk about KPIs and workflow, business strategy and culture. All important, to be sure. But in a rapidly changing world, owners and managers do well to ask themselves how they can improve business performance — even when financials look great at the time.
Often, by the time a company calls us for help, the signs of peril have been lurking or shouting out for months or years. The bottom line is that the leader missed or ignored signs of pending crisis because they failed to ask themselves critical questions.
1. How Can We Improve Customer Satisfaction?
“To satisfy the customer is the mission and purpose of every business,” said Peter Drucker, the godfather of the field of modern management. Each year, the Drucker Institute identifies the best-managed public companies in the US. The ranking gauges America’s largest publicly traded companies according to Peter Drucker’s principles of effectiveness: “Doing the right things well.” One of the metrics for performance is high quality customer satisfaction.
And it’s easy to see why customer service matters. How often do you get fed up with long call wait times, or sites that are unbelievably hard to navigate?
The days when big companies had a monopoly that meant they didn’t need to worry about customer retention are long gone. Today, customers demand that all companies — large businesses as well as small businesses — cultivate a strong positive relationship with them.
In today’s hyper competitive business climate, deeply understanding what motivates your customers and leads to customer retention must be a non-negotiable business goal.
To thrive in this economy, businesses need to take a close hard look at how customer engagement and customer satisfaction can be improved. That could mean conducting focus groups, managing a social media listening program, implementing IT initiatives to improve customer wait times, improved sales training, and/or regular customer check-ins. Every company should have a customer experience performance improvement program in place.
Knowing how well you’re serving customers right now and what you need to improve is a key measure of whether your business will be successful in the future.
2. How Can We Grow Employee Engagement and Development?
“The enterprise must be able to give [its employees] a vision and a sense of mission. It must be able to satisfy their desire for a meaningful contribution to their community and society,” Drucker said.
This is not your father’s world. Hiring someone who stays with a company 25+ years is no longer a realistic goal. But there still are ways to improve employee performance, employee satisfaction, and employee productivity. What do your team members value? Gen Zers are likely to be looking beyond pay as an incentive to engage. They want mentoring, they want some say in decision-making and they want to know that they are making an impact.
If your employees are reporting low morale, lack of communication, or turning in poor work performance, it may be because they do not feel connected to your mission and vision.
Every employee should know what your organization is trying to accomplish, why the mission and vision are good for the organization and good for them, and how they can play a part in making that mission and vision come to life.
How can you better nurture and develop talent within your team?
3. How Can We Be More Innovative?
Every business needs to spend cycles to evaluate products, services, processes, and markets. They must prune ones that are no longer relevant, and build on the success of others to continuously improve or innovate.
No sector will be spared as technology and IOT changes how we interact with products and services. Case in point: Taxis have been around for more than half a century, unchanged. Then Uber disrupted the marketplace. Hotels were the de facto go-to until Airbnb hit the market, giving consumers options to rent a whole house for the price of a cramped hotel room.
Certainly, ramping up innovation can be a challenge. Oftentimes, bringing in a fresh perspective can do wonders. There is plenty of valuable expertise in your company, but the ability to see beyond daily performance management processes and optimize for new, potentially high-performing opportunities takes a new perspective. Even if your staffs possesses the necessary skill sets to innovate, sometimes the best thinking for your business, even your industry, will come from other sectors.
What resources will you commit to R&D to learn what is working and what needs business improvement in the short-term and over a longer time frame?
4. Are We Being Socially Responsible?
If living through two years of a worldwide pandemic taught us nothing us, it’s that we are all connected. The Drucker Institute report says that management must take responsibility for the impact of their organization and do what is genuinely in the public good.
Taking time to review how your company is socially and environmentally conscious can reveal whether you are running your business as effectively as possible. What are your core values? Do people know those core values and adhere to them as to not exploit people and resources? How are you giving back to the community and your employees?
It is a priority that cannot be dismissed today. Employees as well as customers expect it.
Can you set goals that prioritize social responsibility?
5. How Can We Improve Our Financial Strength?
Financial strength is, of course, the key to corporate effectiveness. Without it, there will be no company.
“There is only one appropriate yardstick of business performance. This is the return on all assets employed or on all capital invested,” Drucker said. “To be a marginal producer is always dangerous.”
Financial numbers alone do not paint a proper picture of a company’s management style or its health, but they cannot be overlooked. Look at your company’s financial performance against where you could be operating. Are you hitting your goals and metrics?
How We Can Help You Improve Your Company’s Performance
A well-run company is a sum of many parts, and the Drucker Institute report highlights the most important pieces you must assess to determine if your business is running optimally. A weakness in one area can easily have a domino effect, negatively impacting other areas of a business.
Owners, entrepreneurs, and management teams should conduct a business assessment to get a snapshot of the health of their organizations. If there is a lack of time and leadership resources, proactive businesses find an outside leader to conduct their needs assessment.
Harvard Business Review reports that an organization has less than a 10% chance of ever recovering from a stall in growth whether it’s due to problems with execution or failing to pivot away from a core strategy that isn’t working. To avoid being one of the statistics, ensure you are in touch with where your organization sits, and what you can consistently be improving to charge into the future.
Reach out to us for a confidential consultation to assess how an interim CEO, CFO, CIO or CMO can help improve your company’s performance.