What—or who—is holding your company back? (part 1 of 2)
Taking a step back can make it possible to take a giant leap forward
by Chia-Li Chien | Aug. 01, 2013
Where do you find your business as we go into third-quarter this year? Are you in recovery from the economic slump, still trying to get up to speed? Are you in a place that allows you to start now building a firm foundation against the next economic wave? (See my article titled "Recovery" dated Wednesday, 03 July 2013.)
Bob Petruska, part of the Value Growth team and author of Gemba Walks for Service Excellence, says that business most owners can benefit from improving and innovating their internal systems. These are the business owners who are currently thinking:
• This is broken and we need to fix it.
• I want to take a fresh look to make sure we are making the best decisions possible.
• I want to step back, take a look and create a vision for the future.
• I want to leapfrog my competition.
As a systems engineer, Bob works with business owners to improve their work systems. He helps companies and manufacturers be first to market so that they can charge a premium price ahead of competitors through a Value Stream Mapping process.
Bob can step in to help business owners with an outside point of view (see my article from "Sometimes It Takes an Outsider" dated Friday, 29 March 2013), which can be enlightening and change the way you see your business. As someone with an objective point of view, he can examine why you do things the way you do. (As a business owner, you might not even know the answer; except that is the way you’ve always done it.)
Bob can come in and help a business identify how it can be more successful in getting products rapidly getting to market. He recently worked with a client who wanted to reduce time between the product drawing board to production and shipping to the customers. After dealing with and working through regulations, rules, compliance, testing, he helped the company take the product from drawing board to the manufacturer in a much reduced timeframe, while also creating a repeatable system for other products in the future.
Many businesses have the need for this type of rapid implementation—particularly in circumstances and situations when a systems process for new products seems to drag on forever without any seeming progress.
Bob says the first step is to identify key players who may be holding progress back. “Positive energy produces positive change,” Bob tells a business owner. “Instead of saying, ‘this is what we do now, so you have to do it this way, get people to think about it and own the solution.” That’s how he introduces the concept of commitment through involvement into the workplace and begins to see changes that make a difference in day-to-day operations and both short and long-term business value improvement.
Bob facilitates internal discussions and identifies key stakeholders to help solve problems. Sometimes, predictably, people want and/or need to save face. Bob makes sure all feel they are a part and involved, because really, they are. Usually, there’s no one person in the company who fully understands the complexity of the work or is able to fix it.
He believes businesses are in a really cool time with huge opportunities for innovation and creating something new. He encourages business owners to take advantage of the business climate right now and uncover a need the world doesn’t know it has, yet, then work to fill that need.
However, Bob stresses that unless you get people, internally, to buy into your ideas, you won’t get far. The objective is to work amicably together to solve problems. Bob sees goldmines of opportunities where others people bury problems and hide their head in the sand.
Do you have a need for rapid implementation? A great innovation that can’t get off the drawing board? Email, tweet or send a Facebook message with your recent experiences. We’d love to hear from you.
About Chia-Li Chien
Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; Chia-Li “like JOLLY,” Succession Strategist of Value Growth Institute, dedicated to helping private business owners increase their company equity value. She is the award-winning author of the books Show Me The Money and Work toward Reward and a faculty of the American Management Association. Her blog and newsletter was named a Top Small Business Resource by the New York Times You’re the Boss blog. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (704) 268-9378 .