Reprinted from the 2010 June Business column in Metalforming magazine.
By: Michael Bleau
While reading a brief commentary by Verne Harish, a contributing editor to FORTUNE magazine and dubbed the ‘growth guy’, Verne pointed out several reasons why, even in a lagging economy, there are some foolproof ways to make sure that your company thrives. The point that jumped out at me is ‘pulsing faster’. We all have practiced this at some point in our business cycle, especially if you’ve been a part of a startup. In many cases, companies pick-up the pace during a crisis situation where frequent, brief daily meetings are held to keep priorities in place, check performance indicators, make swift changes in strategy and knock down to-do items.
Chances are, at one time or another you have already implemented a rapid pace when dealing with an immediate crisis affecting your business. Maybe it was a quality issue that placed you into a containment situation with your customer. Or perhaps you wanted to ‘full court press’ a sales opportunity to win new business. In either case, you pulled together the right team members, defined the issues, set objectives, and determined how you would measure results. Then roles and responsibilities are assigned to each task and everyone moves. During the exercise tight communication within the team after the huddle ensures successful outcomes. Then, when the crisis passes or the project is awarded everyone exhales a deep sigh of relief and back we go to our normal pace, which tends to be significantly slower. While as an infrequent exercise this may be exhausting, done as a normal part of the business day you and your team will adjust…like a change in your body’s metabolism. At first, waking at 5:00am for a jog seems like the end of the world, but after awhile you look forward to it and feel out of sorts when you miss it. Think about the last time you prepared to go on vacation. How you were able to cram all of your to-do items into a few days before taking off. You quickened your pace…pulsed faster…achieved more in a single day than possibly in the week prior. If you can do it then, why not every day? Are you afraid that you might run out of things to do? I’m certain that you can create more ways to innovate better products, improve your productivity, reduce costs, please your customers and so on.
So when it comes to your business, why wait until the next crisis to quicken the pace? Applying your ‘crisis mode’ thinking to your daily operations can be a big boost to your productivity! By pulling together your executive team for micro meetings and by having departments do the same you can quicken the pace of the business, drive accountability and ensure that each day is met with measured progress. While I like in-person meetings best, it’s not always practical so these don’t need to be face-to-face; they do need to be brief and can be handled as conferences calls or web gatherings. As long as the material covered is concise and adds value, then you keep moving ahead. When uniformly focused, getting your team to ‘pulse faster’ is a way to ensure that even in a downturn you’re leading the industry.
Served in various capacities within capital equipment engineering, robotics, project management, sales and marketing.
L&A collaborates with Industry Scope, Prior to L&A Nancy was Vice President of Public Relations for a full service B2B agency.
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