Engineering Your Business Or Team For Success
Today, businesses operate in markets that are increasingly complex. Consumer preferences are dynamic and traditional business models are frequently challenged by disruptors. Internally, technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), present promising opportunities to transform every corner of the business, from sales and marketing to human resources.
There are a number of core business engineering principles that can be effectively used to improve business performance across all sectors and contexts. The principles are as below:
- Think in terms of systems, not individual components.
When designing or assessing how your systems are working it is essential to think in a Holistic way – really get to know, and understand, the details and features of the inputs, outputs and interrelated components. This may take some time BUT it will give you an excellent insight towards improving performance and finding efficiencies. Always look beneath the surface to really understand what is going on to see what the dynamics of a system or situation are.
Delivery systems are interconnected systems: it is essential to recognise that changing one input can lead to unintended consequences if the system is not well understood.
- Understand and monitor leading indicators.
Well-engineered systems have gauges to help the operator anticipate performance, but this rarely applies to managers who tend to look for immediate results and reactions, rather than taking a broader view of what is going on. A reliance on looking at key performance indicators (KPIs) is futile because by the time you are looking at the KPIs the damage has already been done.
Sales KPIs are a classic here – poor sales figures are the result of poor performance and what was needed was an intervention before the KPIs were harvested!
Focus your attention onto the corporate goals that you have committed to: break them down into quantifiable milestones which then removes any subjectivity. Do this scientifically and then use them as a set of Indicators to use across the reporting period.
By using metrics that drill down into activity and effort delivered by the organisation you will be able to get a firm grip on what vis needed and what is actually happening.
- Have a focus on things that have failed.
Failure is inevitable – we will do everything to avoid it but, sadly, this is part of the business and management world. What IS vital is to dig deep and understand why it happened. Anything that allows you to understand the market and environment better is a valuable exercise, remembering that the focus here needs to be on learning, not blaming.
- Think about how your product or service can be developed and improved.
Customers will demand more from your product or service so it is very important to consider how you can modify and improve your initial offer to keep ahead of what your competition are doing. Up-front design and delivery is important, but not as important as the mind-set that looks to expand and enhance products or services.
- Rely only on Facts, never assumptions.
Good managers can easily separate what they think is true (assumptions) from what they know is true (facts). Following on from this successful managers and businesses see the importance of challenging and coldly validating assumptions in any system.
This basic, analytical skill will always pay dividends in delivering better decision making and in identifying, and implementing, effective and efficient solutions to problems.
Use the principles above to deliver competitive advantage and to meet the challenges that will come your way.
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