5 Areas of Focus to Create Long Term Transferable Value in Your Business

DEFINITIONS

Transferable Value: The value a perspective investor will see in your business.

Business Processes: Example Business Processes like “Quote to Cash“, “Procure to Pay“, “Website Visitor to Online Customer” “Marketing Program to ROI” and “Hire to Retain” etc.

Technology Stacks: Stack implies orchestration and vendor choices in ERPMRPCRMeCommerceSEOSEM etc.

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my Business Strategy. This is something we all think about from time to time. How do we articulate that strategy to our stakeholders in a way that is meaningful from all points of view?

In order to create long-term success in business, I believe we must become people centric. Our employees are our most valuable asset. But technology is also important these days. We’ve all seen what Amazon has been able to accomplish using today’s best technology.

Successful businesses are process-driven. They’ve discovered a unique formula for putting all the ingredients together and creating something that delivers on its promises. They use data wisely and they execute their plans in a timely efficient manner.

1.0 Being People Centric

Forget about being employee, customer or supplier centric. People are people. We are all uniquely talented and equally flawed. We tend to run on emotional fuel. We can be generous and selfish at the same time. We will give you everything we’ve got if you take the time to understand us. We are smarter than you may think. We let our feelings and emotions guide us more than anything. If you study how the human brain works, you’ll quickly see that recipes of what makes us unique vary slightly, but there are a small number of traits that make us who we are.

We often see this when we have children. One child has his mother’s sense of humor, while the other one has his father’s sense of duty. Just as our children have physical features that resemble us, they also have pieces of our minds, emotions, intelligence and other innate qualities.

At the core, we all want pretty similar things. We need a work environment where we are heard and understood and work we can feel good about doing. We have to know that we matter and that we are making an impact. We are better workers when we have some autonomy over what we do. We excel when we have the opportunity to master skills that go with our personality types. We need to believe there’s a higher purpose to life.

In the past, we’ve all witnessed the fact that traditional management tools that are effective on an assembly line don’t work in the long term. That “top down, carrot and stick” approach is not sustainable. You might get your fidget spinner manufactured today but will it become a multi-million dollar business that evolves as it moves into the future? Probably not.

What about a business recipe that has the proper mix of self-motivated business, technical and creative teams? People who think, do and run things together as a cohesive team. This formula has proven to work over and over in companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon. These tech giants hired intelligent people, then created a positive atmosphere where they could contribute and create something amazing. This business model issustainable. These successful companies realized that the most important contribution people make is “discretionary effort” which is not in any job description.

Being people-centric means developing compensation models that are based on the foundations of leadership, excellence, generosity, talent, entrepreneurship, integrity, fairness and human imperfections. Someone takes ownership of removing friction between individuals and groups so that the team can become the best version of itself.

2.0 Being Technology Enabled

Technology is another important component in this process. When the right people have the right set of tools, they can get just about any job done. The better you address the technology needs of workers, the more you can expect efficiency and productivity. Imagine coming to work tomorrow and finding an old Mac computer on your desk. It’s a real classic with a whopping 10MB memory. Okay, so it only has a black and white display on the cracking monitor, but still … it’s a classic!

Sometimes, businesses do give their employees outdated tools like this while still expecting them to meet all their quotas. This is why user-centric questions are so important.

Users don’t want to deal with 15 different screens and 5 programs to do their jobs. Technology leaders have to simplify things. They have to ask the right questions. They have to keep in mind all users at all skills levels. Too many software applications and too many screens take a toll on your employees. They need easy access to information so they can get their work done efficiently each day and better serve your customers. You should want this too.

3.0 Being Process Driven

Business and organizational processes develop dependencies on internal skills and technology stacks they end up choosing over a long period of time. Someone in the organization must keep the big picture in mind and make careful choices about the technology that is allowed in. Once the purchase has been made, it’s hard to go back and undo and untangle the mess. As technology consumers, we all want Amazon and Apple experiences. We want information at our fingertips. The business processes have to deliver excellent customer experiences at all customer touch-points whether we’re in B2C or B2B industries.
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4.0 Being Data Guided

We know this is the age of big data and AI. Businesses that can harness that power will have a definite edge. It’s relatively easy to get trailing indicators from most Business Management Systems (like sales, gross profit, operating profit etc.) but companies can grow exponentially if they are able to leverage new technologies. You can make greater strides once you start monitoring and incrementally improving leading indicators like customer engagement at campaign levels during various stages of the consumer buying journey.

Being data-guided means that you should be able to rely on accurate data so you can evaluate which processes are well-thought-out and which ones need improvement. The spirit behind being data-guided is understanding the data, then figuring out how to change the processes so we can achieve better outcomes.

5.0 Being Execution Oriented

There is a subtle difference between being execution oriented vs being execution driven. Execution driven business environments can miss out on new opportunities because they are always executing. Execution orientation makes room for research, thinking and creativity.

Tom Peters is fond of using the slide below which he explains in this article.

The point is to execute on pilot projects and be OK with making mistakes and learning from them along the way. We are living in the Age of Google where information is literally at our fingertips. Our brain is wired to constantly be on a quest to find answers. This served us well when the quest was limited to finding food.

Since it’s so easy now to ask questions and find answers online, we have started doing too much research. There are studies that show how decisions are made by committees. Our tactical teams need a little breathing room. Senior leadership needs to create an environment where people don’t get in trouble for taking small calculated risks. That means people have to pursue high impact projects without fear of losing everyone’s respect or even their job.

Putting it All Together

In a nutshell, the transferable value of a business goes up as it evolves organically. That means it gets better over time at orchestrating thousands of activities. These can include making sound choices in what technology you buy, who you hire, what training you provide and most importantly how you make employees “feel” while they’re working. If you can get all this right, you will achieve what so many employers miss out on. And that is “discretionary effort.

The transferable value gets added one small choice at a time over days, weeks, quarters and years.

Let’s start the conversation.

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