belief system

Leading the Organization That Survives: Prioritizing Business Needs

Every business has needs that must be met in order for the organization to survive.  However, identifying those needs is not enough; we, as business leaders, need to understand the business’s priorities.  The items that tend to be urgent are not always the ones that are important, and many important tasks are not perceived as urgent, and get overlooked.  Prioritizing the needs of the business will help you, the business leader, address the right need at the right time.

The first thing we must understand is where the business is in its lifecycle.  Understanding where your business is in its lifecycle is critical to defining the needs of the business as any time, just like people have different needs at different times of their lives.  For example, while my four year old would probably consider jumping off of anything at any height, and needs me there to keep him safe, my 16 year old needs to be reminded that he needs to cut the grass, and management to ensure that he does a good job. 

As we discussed in the last article – “The Business as a System.” once we begin looking at the business like a system, it becomes relatively easy to identify what needs to be done next, whether that means reviewing some lower-level priorities for the business, or stepping up to the next level of existence for the organization.   We call the hierarchy the 6S Model.Framework-framed

The first level is the Existence stage.  The business is a baby, just starting to crawl or walk, and completely dependent on your for its survival and safety.

  • Survival level needs will include defining a belief system for the business, and an identity- mission, vision and values, leadership, understanding of the markets the business will serve, and the products or services the business will offer.  If we were thinking about this like taking a vacation, just saying that you want to take a vacation isn’t enough.  You have to decide where you are going to go, how you are going to get there, who you are going to go with, and who is responsible for making sure that everyone gets where they need to be.  Intuitively, this is built into your personal belief system.  If you are a Christian, for example, your belief system will dictate that there are certain kinds of activities you want to participate in, and others that don’t fit into that system.  Survival-level needs for the business are just as foundational.
  • Safety level needs are those that serve to protect the business from internal and external problems.  Examples of this might include awareness of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, competitor standards, financial position, compliances, having the right advisors and understanding what the businesses capacities and capabilities.  There is nothing like getting up and running, delivering your product to shops throughout the area, and finding out that there was some type of compliance issue that you overlooked, or, as what happens with a lot of businesses, you took on high risk that could have been avoided with better understanding of the business’s position.

The second stage in the business lifecycle is the evolutionary stage.  This is that period between childhood, where the business needs someone to wipe its mouth and hold its hand, and adulthood, when the business is walking around, proclaiming its existence to the world.  These might be the teen years, and like teens, this period is not always predictable, and is where the business will learn a lot.

  • Sustainability is the appropriate name for this level of Existence.  This is the level where the business leader will put measures in place to ensure that the business can be in business tomorrow.  You can start to see what the business is going to look like and what it is going to do when it grows up, but it needs further guidance and growth.  Sustainability-level needs include management, Process, systems, required resources, understanding of the sales medium, product or service standards, vendors and a cohesive team.  If we return to the trip, we’ve come over the hurdles of planning the trip and making sure that the trip will be safe, this is the part where we have understanding of the vehicle that is going to get us to the destination.  Have we ensure that the engine is tuned up?  Have we filled it up with gas?  Do we have windshield wiper fluid?  Who is going to monitor all of these things?  While we can plan the trip and get on the road, without some understanding of how to sustain, we won’t get very far.
  • Stakeholder relationships are not just friends and family.  It takes a village to raise a child.  Relationships with customer, vendors, creditors, investors, etc., is critical to the continued growth of your business.  They can help mold and strengthen the business by making you aware of any opportunities of threats that could impact your business.  If you keep them informed about what is going on in your business, they will be more likely to share this type of information with you.

The third stage we’ll look at is the Emergence stage.  This is not when your business is all grown up, settle in its ways and  stubborn.  This is when your business is seeking to make its way in the world.  There will be lots of choices and lots of opportunity.  What the business needs at this point, you might liken to a career path and a continuous growth plan.

  • Solid Branding is likened to your career path.  It is what envelops your company when you walk into the room and announce your presence.  It is what speaks for your company when you are not around.  It can influence where or not someone will do business with you.  When we talk about branding, we look at everything that could impact the way a company or client looks at you, from the atmosphere of your office, to your commitment, involvement, communication style, customer service, expertise, etc.  What do you want your company to be known for? 
  • Sustained Innovation & Growth is the capstone of the 6S model.  This, again, is not where we kick up our feet and say “we’ve arrived!  We are at the top of the heap!”  How many companies have we seen topple to the bottom that once made those claims?  How many companies that currently lead the market continue to develop new products and technologies?  How many of these companies have created needs that we didn’t even know we had?  How can your company tap into that mindset?  Needs at this level include vision, an innovation process, an idea platform, strategic planning and strategic forecasting.  When built into the company culture, these are drivers to push the company toward emergence from the industry and to stand out in the marketplace.

As a business leader, you are responsible for understanding where your business is in its lifecycle, and what needs you will be addressing at each level.  Understand, however, that lower level needs always need to be addressed before upper level needs.  What I mean by that is that if you are in the emergence level, and accounting standards change, which would be an existence level need, you must still address it before im
plementing the next generation product your company is working to bring to market.

Be passionate about understanding and addressing the business’s needs through the use of 6S.  You’ll go further, longer.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].

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No Beliefs in Business, and Other False Truths

Have you ever heard someone say that personal beliefs and belief systems have no place in the professional workplace? The suggestion is that someone’s beliefs can get in the way of business and productivity. However, modern conversations have been about wholeness, work-life balance and self expression. It seems like there are two competing trains of thought that should be further investigated.

Consider the changing workforce, with the reigns of corporations and small businesses being handed over to the Generation X’ers, a generation that is known for being, shall we say, a bit less conservative then that of their predecessors. We (yes, we) are known for taking jobs based on our interests, and staying with the job to gain specific experiences or knowledge, then taking that to the next position in the new company – creating what one might term, a very transient workforce.

Looking back to previous generations, we can see that people were defined by their job, or their profession. If one was asked what they do, it would be based on their job description. Now, based on that, what happens to a person if they lose that job? Do they define themselves as “unemployed?” It seems as though they are defining themselves as without (un) use (employ) or useless. Therefore, their job or position was what defines them, or what they believe in. It was their a belief system, of sorts, though not extremely promising nor rewarding, to most.

Could this lack of stability and personal definition be part of the reason that the Great Depression perpetuated for so long? Could this suppression of personal beliefs and belief systems be part of reason for the 60’s insistence and outcry for personal freedom and expression? Could this be part of the reason that depression and suicide in the United States is so high, and increasing, yearly?

Given that the present generations seem to be a bit more transient in their careers, what belief systems do or should they embrace? I suggest that they are forced to seek other belief systems in order to find a sense of wholeness or completeness. I also suggest that people without any stable belief system cannot be a whole, stable, authentic person. It has been said, “You’ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.”

Take this to the workplace. Where do belief systems fit in? When we look at a workplace, we look at the belief system that the business is built upon, in concert with it’s purpose and it’s competencies in order to help it become as productive and profitable as it can be. Anything that does not work within the defined parameters is discarded, those that do fit are enhanced.

If we look at the human side of the equation, and encourage the identification of a person’s belief systems, along with identifying their purpose and competencies, we are able to identify how that person will be most productive, and thus, contribute, both directly and personally to the company’s initiatives and vision. With the individual’s personal belief system, and the belief system of your business are aligned, the individual will most likely have a passion, not just for his job, but also, for the company.

How valuable is your human capital to you? Have you had key employees that burned out and left? Have you improperly hired or changed jobs of your employees that caused more harm then good? Have you missed opportunities to develop your team because you neglected to explore that side of the equation?

Consider defining the belief system for your business, along with a establishing a sense of purpose and competencies. This is one of the tools that we at Aepiphanni Business Solutions help businesses become more productive and profitable in our AGS Program.

At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].

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