January 17th, 2013
As 2013 begins and you look for ways to grow and develop your business, your people will be a critical area to get right. Do you have the right people in the right places and doing the right things to move the business forward or are they keeping you from moving forward?
In our last Bottom Line we made some suggestions about reviewing what you are doing and concentrating on those areas that are profitable and successful, cutting back on other areas that are costing too much compared to what they earn. We suggested talking directly to your customers to understand what they value from you and then to understand what else could be offered that they would also value. Jim Collins, in his classic book Good to Great, talks about ‘Hedgehog’ companies – those that “know one thing but know it very well”. 2013 will be a year for the hedgehogs. Being profitable whilst extending into other profitable areas will provide growth, steady rather than dramatic at first, but capable of being scaled to build momentum.
So, do you have the right team to take the business forward to where you want it to be? As Jim Collins also suggests in Good to Great, it is about who is ‘on the bus’. In particular who needs keeping, who needs removing and who is not on the bus that should be. Collins suggests finding the people before deciding on your route. For most of us, that is a difficult counsel to follow as we are already in transit and already have people on the bus. Nevertheless, three practical approaches from Collins can be used to find the right people for your team –
- In the recruitment process, when in doubt, don’t hire – keep looking.
You should limit growth based on your ability to attract enough of the right people. It is not enough to offer better money. Money doesn’t bring in better people but it can keep the right people in place.
- When you know you need to make a people change, act immediately but make sure they aren’t just in the wrong seat.
With some reshuffling of positions, you could find you have a stronger team. However, if you need to remove someone, ensure you follow the right procedures and do it legally. Seek professional advice if you don’t have it within your team or Academy Group
- Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.
If you sell off your problems (or drop that part of your business), don’t lose your best people in the process.
Once you have your team, and even whilst you are in the process of building it, communicate openly with them and delegate as much as you can to them. The top team has no monopoly on good ideas, so share information and invite support and ideas from the team. Make feedback a two way process that both parties use to improve what they do. Clarify and communicate what the business is and does and delegate decisions down the line. Give responsibility and authority to your team and, as CEO, aim to remove yourself as much as you can from the operational business and concentrate on strategic areas.