Building a solid business foundation
Every business is started on an idea and from that idea the unmovable belief by its creator that there is success and greatness just around the corner. It is from these kind of courageous people that great businesses have been started. Microsoft, Apple, Lululemon, Zara, Facebook, Wendy’s, hell even Wal-Mart was started, like the others, by one individual with an idea. It’s not just these Juggernauts, there are thousands of stories of very successful businesses that are small in comparison and at the forefront of what they do. In my experience successful businesses like these all have one thing in common, an unshakeable foundation.
From the get go, all business owners begin to establish a foundation, this foundation is what makes the business what it is and determines how well it will perform. Sometimes a founder of a new business creates the foundation instinctually, evolving it over time, while others take a text book approach and meticulously build each element. Regardless of which approach is taken, successful businesses establish a solid foundation in their organization and they manage it closely. There are arguably six foundational elements that I have focused on as a consultant and have found that no matter what the challenge a business is experiencing it falls within one of them 99.9% of the time.
In my last blog I made the statement that “everything is connected to everything else” and when it comes to business I have seen it hold true every time. Let’s take a well-publicized example, they even made a Hollywood movie about it, Jobs. Ok maybe it wasn’t about foundational elements but man that was the first thing I picked up on when the board punted Jobs from Apple. First there was an ill-conceived change in Strategy away from the vision and culture entrenched by the founder; next they changed their approach to development (Policy and Process); this in turn effected the People and Culture, never mind the effect that kicking out the founder had; they shifted the Organizational Structure that cherished creativity and focused on cost; their Supporting Technology to innovate was limiting; and finally there was a lack of effective Performance Management, it was the perfect storm that almost killed the company. The point here is that each element is connected in some way shape or form to all the others and when one is affected. In Apple’s case, strategy without due consideration to the others a crack in the foundation occurs creating fissures throughout all the elements, these are what cause organizations to crumble.
Each of the six elements are made up of a multitude of components. Keeping a close eye on your foundation is key in keeping the business progressing in the right direction. In future blogs I will talk about some of the most common components within each of the foundational elements that set the stage for success, how they connect to each other, and some of the challenges I have experienced. The cool part about all this is that you can fix the cracks, in fact, to stay ahead of the game, you want to be enhancing the foundation all the time to avoid them.
Chris is dedicated to helping businesses grow and flourish by unlocking the power and strengths within them. He is a dynamic operations expert with over 35 years of experience in a diverse range of business environments. For more information on Chris check out LinkedIn, Incrementa Website and Twitter.