We’re constantly being bombarded with the “newest” and the “latest and greatest” gadget or gimmick that promises to solve all our problems and make the world a better place. You know what I’m talking about. Infomercials peddle miracle pills that will make you skinny and detergents that will clean the ocean (slight exaggeration). In the business world we have “right-sizing”, “top grading”, “re-engineering” and the list goes on. Sure, these cure-alls have a certain level of validity but intuitively we know it comes down to the basics.
If you want to be skinny, eat less and exercise more. I’m not saying it’s easy but it is basic and it works. Companies that focus (consistently) on business basics enjoy long term success with fewer peaks and valleys. Simply put, it works. Again, it’s not easy (particularly the “consistently” part) but it is a mechanism for proven, sustainable success.
Why do companies stray from the basics? (Of course, it’s the people running the company that stray, not “the company” but let’s not split hairs). Let me explain with a simple and real example. I have been coaching kid’s soccer for the last nine years. Currently I coach a 14 year old boys’ team. Each player wants to have the strongest kick, the best tricks, and the most goals because it makes them feel good about themselves – they feel successful. That’s good, but alone, these things don’t win games. The basics (ball control, passing, positioning, and playing as a team) win games.
Translating this into the business world, consider these basics to “win more games”:
1. Revisit your strategic or business plan for 2012. How is your business doing? Are you on target to reach your goals and objectives? Why or why not?
2. Assess your talent pool. Who is doing well? Who is struggling? What needs to be done to get them back on track?
3. Look at leadership capability. Do your leaders (include team leaders, supervisors, managers, directors, VP and C-Level) have enough depth? Do they know the difference between managing the business and leading people?
4. Build a road map for everybody to follow. This includes information about strategic direction, goals and how each employee contributes to the organization’s success. Have you communicated enough?
5. Measure team performance: both departmental and cross-functional. The greatest achievements are consistently accomplished by teams.
Apply these basics to your day-to-day and you’re sure to and win more games.