Real World Management and the MBA
I have been working in the business world since I got my first job as a paperboy. Over the past thirty years or so, I have had the advantage of seeing all kinds of businesses of every conceivable shape and size. When I wrote Business and Technology Integration, I focused on how to run a business. However, recently I was accepted into the Quinnipiac MBA program and I am taking my first class. It has given more more time to reflect on why businesses succeed and fail. Here are what I consider the keys to why businesses succeed or fail.
Strategic plans are multiple year plans for the business goals for the company. It should include an understanding of strengths, weaknesses, risks, and external factors. The plan needs to be realistic and focused on profitability for the company to succeed. When I look back, I am surprised at how many companies I worked for either didn’t have a real vision or don’t share it.
Almost all problems can be traced back to communication. Good communication is necessary at the company, division, department, team and one-on-one level. Managers should meet once a week with their manager and employees. Companies should have all hands meetings quarterly or yearly. You should keep these meetings less than thirty minutes and stay focused on three or four important topics. I can’t tell you how many long aimless meetings I have been forced to attend over the years from CEO all hands meetings all the way down to team meetings. I have walked out of most of them without learning anything.
Accountability means monitoring the performance of employees across the company. Typically this is associated with punishments. If employees are not held responsible for poor performance, it results in poor customer service and products. However, it will also destroy morale and demotivate good employees. Dealing with poor performance doesn’t simply mean firing people. It means pointing out the problems, providing training, mentoring, and giving employees the opportunity to improve performance. In addition to dealing with poor performance, companies should reward and promote good performance encouraging all employees to improve. When employees see performance is rewarded, they will invariably rise to the occasion.
All of the Above
If you don’t have a plan or communicate it and tie it to performance, how do you know when you will get there? A company needs all three ideas working together – creating a plan, communicating it, and tying employee performance to meeting the strategic goals. Any company that can accomplish all three objectives is destined for success. Any company that doesn’t is destined for problems.