Making a Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear
Written by J. Crawley on Friday, 27 March 2020
Most business growth journeys are not a smooth upward curve, they are jerky, they have crises that then need Gaffa-tape applied to fix the problem, and the machine keeps turning, and then another layer gets applied over that layer, and the business grows again and the underlying issue gets buried under a layer of fixes and pushed to one side, because it’s not stopping the machine RIGHT NOW.
How often as a business leader, in an established business, have you lain awake at night thinking “if only I could press the pause button right now on my business, stop customer orders, stop purchasing , stop the whole machine, I could really catch up and reorganise the business so it can work much more effectively, carry out my preventative maintenance!
That chance to unwrap all the layers of gaffatape, and look and see if the underlying problems are still there…..That’s not something you are willing to do whilst the machine is still turning in case the wheels come off – and frankly how many businesses can possibly afford to just stop doing business and continue paying their employees.
If you were in a heaving manufacturing setting, or say running a nuclear power station you would be forced to stop the machine every now and then, shut it down completely and carry out maintenance because that is what protects the long term sustainability of the plant.
Let’s leave aside the “medical” aspect of this crisis for a moment, and I will caveat what I am saying it clearly wont apply to all business types.
This enforced “Shut-Down” of non-essential businesses we are currently facing is an unprecedented opportunity for many businesses to STOP. To genuinely take a look at the size and shape of the business, the services they offer to their clients, how their workforce works and ask themselves
“Are we doing this because it’s the right way to do it or are we doing it because it’s the way we have always done it”
Why is it unprecedented – well for a start many businesses are able to take advantage of the range of government support packages which will remove a huge amount of the financial burden of such a business process re-engineering exercise if nothing else.
Here are the key topics I am looking at right now with my colleagues right now in both my but also my clients businesses
- Have we got the right shaped talent pool in our business for our business to be successful?
- Are procurement, sales and customer support processes fit for purpose
- Do we have the right customer demographic – are we serving the type of customers we want to be
Remember business process re-engineering goes on all the time, its just usually not as effective because you can’t turn the machine off whilst you are trying to maintain it.