Making Your Company Great

Making Your Company Great

I recently reviewed again the work of Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great.  It was a great reminder that getting your company and its people to mastery is not simple nor is it quick. It takes vision, time and above all uncommon discipline and persistence.  Many companies are looking for that magic bullet, the quick fix, to turn them around.

It just doesn’t work that way.

Collins relates it to the egg.  Nobody really notices the egg just sitting there until one day there is a crack in it and out jumps a chick.  The headlines are “Stunning Turnaround at Egg” and everyone is talking.  But look at what was happening inside the egg for those 21 days.  It was growing and developing, taking shape until it was ready to hatch.  Maybe a bit silly but none the less an example we can relate to.  The companies in their study that were determined to be great had such a story.

These companies were willing to take a hard look at their current state of affairs and make changes in critical areas including their people.  The made clear decisions about who was in the company and only the A-players were on board.  They had a clear vision, a clear why, and used that uncommon discipline and persistence to drive the “what” and the “how”.

Momentum builds slowly and with a lot of effort.  The fly-wheel was hard to get going.  There was a lot of the inertia of a body at rest to overcome.  While it looked like not much was happening to the outside world these companies were getting into momentum with the right people and vision.

The leaders of these companies kept things simple: one core focus that all systems revolved around.  They had such belief in the vision that they did whatever was necessary to become a great company that is a great place to work.

A great company, small or large, must buy into these beliefs.  Within our client engagements we look at the business vision, culture, people, systems and more.  We help them to understand what a team at mastery level is and help them to get there. We help the people be their best by understanding themselves and others better.  We believe that every organization wants to be a healthy organization that is a great place to work.  No company starts out to be mediocre or even good.  They want to be great, yet many times lack the tools and experience to get there.  They are also often too close to the business to see the path forward.

That’s why all organizations wanting to be great need a coach.  Who is yours?

The Secret to Raving Fans

What is the secret to raving fans?

Hopefully your business has customers.  If not, you won’t be in business long.  What if instead of customers, you could create raving fans?  You know you’ve met them.  Those people that become the unpaid ambassador for some product or service that absolutely exceeded their expectations.

In this week’s podcast, Coach Judi Harris shares with Phillip Saxton the not so secret secrets to creating raving fans of your organization.

BIZ 1190 AM | Atlanta, GA | Original air date 1/25/14.

CRM as Your Secret Weapon

Your CRM can be your secret weapon if set-up and used properly.  While there are several choices including, SugarCRM, ZohoCRM, and many more, what do you need to think about to maximize the return on your investment.

In this podcast, Chris Reese and Judi Harris visit with Phillip Saxton about how to turn your CRM into your secret weapon.

BIZ 1190 AM | Atlanta, GA | Original air date 1/18/14.

What Is a Thematic Goal?

What is a thematic goal?  We’re glad you asked.

If you are like most professionals, you have far too much on your plate for one person to manage.  You would probably love to be able to get better at applying Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants.  However, lack of clarity around a thematic goal can make it difficult to determine what is important.

In this radio show segment, Coach Judi Harris and Chris Reese share more about how to create a thematic goal and why a thematic goal is so important.

BIZ 1190 AM | Atlanta, GA | Original air date 01/11/2014.

Will the Zappos Experiment Work?

If you spend any time with the Cirrus team or have been in one of our development workshops, you’ve heard us say that healthy organizations are run by areas of responsibility rather than titles.  I was reminded of this when I read The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) blog “Zappos Says Goodbye to Bosses.”

It can be very easy as an organization grows for managers to hide behind titles and push responsibility down the chain of command.  We see that very clearly in government.  It’s often the low-level employee that takes the fall for failures and the person at the top all too ready to receive the accolades for success.  This is a sure-fire way to create a disengaged workforce.

As #Zappos grew, they noticed that the bureaucracy they needed to run the business was getting in the way of their agility.  It was taking longer to respond to customers and markets.  This is a textbook case of the organizational life-cycle and why innovation is so difficult in large organizations.  As organizations grow they must have systems and processes to create predictable results.  However, the systems that are designed to produce “sameness” don’t do innovation or agility well.

So in a bold move, Zappos is changing to a self-organizing organization.  Sure there will be an executive team that is accountable to the board, but otherwise the company will be made up of self-governing teams.  This works very well for project-based work.

The holacracy, as it is called, is not a new concept, and it’s gone by several names over the years.  However, it will be interesting to see if this will work over the long term in an organization the size of Zappos.  I also have some reservations about whether or not the type of work in which most Zappos employees are engaged is conducive to this structure.  We’ll soon see how many folks were just in the boat versus rowing the boat.

Creating Your Strategic Plan

Creating your strategic plan is a primary duty as a business leader.  All businesses big or small need to have a strategic plan, but what is it anyway? Chris Reese and Judi Harris explain what a strategic plan is and share some tips on what that plan should include.

Original Air Date – January 4, 2013 | BIZ1190 AM | Atlanta, GA

Build Your Farm Team

Recruiting quality talent is a topic that is top of mind with CEOs.  Without a solid bench of talent, business growth is a scary thing.  Chris and Judi offer some great tips for building your farm team as they visit with Phillip Saxton in this podcast.

Original Air Date – December 28th, 2013 | BIZ1190 AM | Atlanta, GA