Imagine riding a bicycle with a crate of eggs on your head. Impossible? What if you were going to be handsomely paid for riding through a mile (with the crate of eggs well balanced on your head, of course)? Would you dare to achieve it? Well, that is exactly what running a successful business entails. Yes, business success is akin to riding a bicycle while balancing a crate of eggs on your head. I’ll explain.
It needs no saying that we are living in VUCA times – globally. The business environment is growing intense and, unfortunately, these macroeconomic pressures are crunching hard on business leaders, causing them to lose a grip on the most important aspects of their businesses. In some cases, even compromising. Mostly, to keep their businesses afloat, business leaders are erroneously focusing more attention on their operations over-delivering optimal and excellent value to their customers.
In your business, your operations are the bicycle and your value delivery is the crate of eggs. Thus, your primary task as a business leader is to find the balance between business operations and the delivery of excellent value to customers. Remember that your value offering is what your customers primarily care about; they have no care for your operations. Since your operations are what power your value delivery, your operations are your concern and not your customer’s. So, it is critical to balance the two ends. That is, keep your business moving (operations) and do not compromise on the excellence of your value to customers (don’t let the eggs on your head break). In other words, you must always strive to operate in the balance of both to stay successful. Whenever you find yourself in a position to sacrifice one for the other, it is time to slow down and realise that you have an underlying and unaddressed business problem to tackle.
To uncover this often unnoticed sabotage, you must take a strategic and data-driven approach to identify your problem areas so that the solutions you arrive at are effective and will consolidate the much-needed maximisation of business operations for better value delivery. In my experience as a transformation expert and an entrepreneur for over two decades, four key steps have proven effective in achieving this.
- Identifying the Problems
The first and pertinent step in balancing business operations and excellent value delivery is identifying and defining the problems or challenges affecting your business. Is the balance tilted in one direction while the other is suffering? Often than not, it is excellent value delivery that falls prey. Check this.
Generally, this helps you to diagnose what aspect or unit is exposed based on the available data. More so, it is advisable to spend more time here as a wrong diagnosis will send you searching for solutions to problems that may not exist.
- Assessing Your Options
After identifying the problem(s), the next step is to evaluate the possible avenues for resolving them. It is necessary to define upfront what is off-limits among your options (an example could be downsizing), then note the consequential resources needed for each remaining option and the measurable impact it will have on addressing the issues. With this, reach a decision and move to action.
- Adopting Solutions
A holistic assessment of options should lead to a list of feasible solutions to what is hindering your business’s ability to deliver consistently excellent value while operating efficiently. Moreover, adopted solutions must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented and Time-based) to ensure effective implementation and maximum impact.
- Optimising Delivery
The marketplace is constantly evolving and it is a matter of astute necessity to take an agile approach to delivering business solutions. A close and repetitive analysis of the business environment will help you stay ahead of the ever-changing curve and give you opportunities to tweak your processes and adopt necessary solutions in time.
As a business owner or leader, your chief daily task is to constantly find the nexus between efficient operations and value optimization, as they are the two coefficients that drive business growth and success. Without delivering consistent excellent value that satisfies and leaves your customers wanting more, there will be no customers for your business; and without efficient operations, there will be no business to deliver rich value to customers.
A deliberate and clinical implementation of the steps and processes shared above will help you utilise the tension between efficient operations and delivering better value to your benefit.
Keep Unlocking Possibilities!