7 Essentials that Drive Great Companies
Jeff McElyea, Lucid Business Strategies
Ever have the experience of hunting for hours for the wisdom of the “experts” in the field of your choice, only to be deeply disappointed by the shallowness of the information they share?
That’s how we felt when we went looking for what the “experts” say drive great companies. Should we take an expert seriously when s/he says “awesome people” are at the top of the list, without any context for awesomeness within a given industry?
What about the book authors who say all a company needs to be great is customers (duh!), or “something special like a secret ingredient”?
Certainly a great company must be filled with “awesome” people. And without customers, there is no business. These are, at best, elementary statements. Where these experts fall down in our eyes is their use of nebulous terms and lack of explanation. We think what makes a company great is primarily attitude and action, and we’ve boiled it down to what we see as The Seven Essentials that Drive Great Companies:
- Demanding Excellence – “Good Enough” is not. Excellence is expected from every member of the team, every day. Yes! Completely agree with this point.
- Clear Communication – The strategy is well-defined, everyone is on board with that strategy, and the communication channels are clear, well-used, and everything is documented. Every person in the organization knows what is expected of them, and what they are to accomplish. They receive regular feedback on their performance relative to those expectations. Great companies set clear expectations and provide methods for immediate, constructive feedback – which loops back to the First Essential: Great companies demand that expectations are met or exceeded.
- Mutual Respect – There may be a hierarchy, but contributions are expected from everyone, and everyone is respected for their opinions and contributions. Credit is given where credit is due.
- Integrity – The customer is always the most important asset, and decisions are based on what is right for the customer, no matter the cost. Great companies are fair, ethical, and honest. They never violate these principles.
- Energized Team –A team that stays upbeat and energized is a powerful force in any situation. A team in which all members move in the same direction, toward the same goals, moves the company forward with enthusiasm.
- Invents their Future Every Day – Our world moves at an astounding pace. Great companies master today while looking for what must be mastered next. They invest in today so that they can be leaders tomorrow.
- Hold a “How Can We?” Attitude - Great companies never say, “We can’t.” They ask, instead, “How can we make this happen?”
The Seven Essentials are included in the list of things we review and analyze in each of our Business Consulting practice engagements. What we’ve learned, over the years, is that many of the financial and operational issues that plague a business eventually turn around when the Seven Essentials are put into practice and kept close to the heart of each member of the team – from the CEO down to the most entry-level position in the company.
This is not to say you can focus on these seven points and pay no heed to the other issues. The point is that the internal and attitudinal issues are intertwined with the financial and operational issues. They go hand-in-hand, and when one side of the equation is out of whack, the pain is quickly felt in the other.
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