Companies of every shape and size are susceptible to infection. The question always comes down to whether or not the company is healthy and strong enough to fight the infection off.
Centerbrook, CT (PRWEB) April 10, 2013
Strategies, a leading national business management training and coaching company, has just posted a new article on their web site titled, “Six Questions to Evaluate Business Health”.
"Every leader must recognize their responsibility to protect and ensure the health and vitality of the company," says Strategies Founder & CEO, Neil Ducoff. "These leaders also the ones who are ultimately responsible for making a company 'sick' through bad decision-making, procrastination, allowing the company’s culture to deteriorate, poor cash management, and a host of other faux pas that leaders notoriously self-inflict."
“Companies of every shape and size are susceptible to infection,” says Ducoff. “The question always comes down to whether or not the company is healthy and strong enough to fight the infection off. Having the ability to overcome infection is one of the unwritten rules of how to grow a successful business.”
Here are six questions to evaluate the current health of any business:
IS THE LEADER THE SYSTEM? Systems exist to create predictable outcomes. Building, perfecting, and locking systems are tedious yet essential parts of ensuring the right outcomes. When the leader needs to micromanage daily work, the leader becomes the system. If a leader ever utters the words, “Can’t they just do their jobs?” then they have become the system – and it’s not working for them, the team, the company, and the customers. If the leader is the system, the company is not healthy.
WHAT IS THE COMPANY FIGHTING FOR? People fight for causes they believe in. Fighting for a cause unleashes the most precious energy source a company can possess – passion. Passion drives productivity, innovation, efficiency, and the ability to achieve outcomes that others perceive as unattainable. If the vision, purpose, values, and guiding principles of the company do not ignite the passion of the team, the company is not healthy.
IS CASH FLOW BEING MANAGED? Cash is the fuel of the company. It’s hard to fight and win in today’s economic climate if the company’s fuel gauge warning light is flashing. Too many leaders don’t pay enough attention to cash management until their fuel tank is critically low. Repeatedly filling the fuel tank with borrowed money is dangerous because debt saps future cash. Maintaining a cash reserve of three to four months operating expenses is not something leaders should just dream about – it’s something them must discipline themselves and the company to do. If the leader is not relentlessly managing cash flow, the company is not healthy.
IS INFORMATION REALLY FLOWING? The human body possesses a sophisticated information flow system. The simple act of walking is a coordinated effort of information flow and execution. In most companies, information flow is best described as constipated. Information may flow to some areas, but only trickle or bypass others. Think of information flow as “what, why, how, the score.” The right outcomes occur when expectations are clarified, processes are defined, deadlines established and agreed to, and progress is monitored via feedback or the equivalent of a scoreboard. Leaders must invest the time and energy to ensure information is flowing to every nook and cranny of the company. If it isn’t, the company is not healthy.
IS THE COMPANY’S GPS TURNED ON? These days, just about everyone has a GPS, either in their car, on their phone or both. It’s almost impossible for individuals not to know where they are and if they are on course to their intended destination. Do all leaders know their company’s present location on its three-, five-, or ten-year plan? What are the ten initiatives they plan to complete this year? Which benchmarks and critical numbers are meeting expectations and which ones need focused attention? If the leader doesn’t know precisely where the company is, the company is not healthy.
CAN IT ENDURE? Every leader’s time on earth is finite. In contrast, a company can and should endure long after the leader is gone. The ability to endure is the ultimate indicator of the health of a company. Is the leader building a company capable of enduring or a fortress to support their ego? Are they building a company that is growing in value – and does the Balance Sheet prove that it is? Is the leader’s replacement being groomed? Are they letting go of the reigns and allowing their leadership team to be accountable? The most important thing for a leader to remember is that he or she is not the company. If the company cannot endure beyond one person’s leadership, it is not healthy.
Neil Ducoff is the Founder and CEO of Strategies, a business management coaching, consulting and training firm. He is also is the author of the award-winning "No-Compromise Leadership" leadership book , as well as "Wake Up!" and the recently published second edition of "Fast Forward". Learn more at http://www.strategies.com.