Every organization hits a ceiling at some point. Some figure out how to break through it, some linger there longer than they like, while other businesses simply fizzle out. I know because I've seen it in my own businesses and others as well.
The question becomes, what to do about it. How do you push through successfully and how can you head it off in the future?
Here are six key components of every business, and to the degree you can solidify all six, it becomes easier to see those ceilings coming and address them (or avoid them) in the future. The brilliant Gino Wickman discusses these in his book, "Traction" and they are definitely worth exploring.
1. Get a clear Vision.
Work with the executive team to set a clear vision for where the organization wants to go and get everyone on the executive team in agreement. Set clear values for the organization that are not "pay to play" values like trust and honesty - everyone should have those coming in to your organization. Set values that go deeper and give examples of how people can demonstrate them.
2. Create Right Bus and Right Seats - then select the Right People for the Seats.
Quite literally, in that order. Toss the typical org chart, think like a strategic Board of Directors and create a totally new "bus" not based on the people who you currently have but the organization you need for the future. Then design the "seats" then choose the right people for them. This is an eye opening exercise and you may find that some of the people that got you where you are now are not the ones who will take you into the future.
3. Get Clear on Data.
What data points about your business would you need to look at weekly, in order to know the health of your organization? This one throws people for a loop, but it's a great exercise. We're not talking financial statements that you look at monthly or quarterly. What weekly data do you need to see to know all is well in your business?
4. Deal with your Issues.
Many meetings are spend rehashing the same issues over and over and over. It's important to clearly identify the root cause of the issues, discuss it thoroughly, solve the issue and assign it to someone to take care of. The sooner you master this brilliant process, the more time you will have to tend to your business.
5. Know your Core Processes.
There is a saying that 20% of your business processes produce 80% of your revenue. Do you know what those are? Identify them, document them, share them. Note I didn't say 100% of your processes, just the key 20%.
6. Get Traction Throughout the Organization.
By setting a clear vision, getting the right seats and people placed, by having clear and transparent data, dealing with issues, and documenting core processes, your organization can gain significant traction - which means getting everyone on the same page and accountable to each other.
The program Wickman has designed is called the Entrepreneurial Operating System, or EOS. We found it years ago and it is truly a proven, elegantly simple set of tools and processes to consistently identify when the ceiling is coming and how to punch through it successfully. By strengthening each of the six key components you can propel your organization to greater success. We help organizations by facilitating the EOS process.
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Amy Riccardi is the Chief People Officer and Founder of HCM2020. She's a guest lecturer at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and works with executive teams and CEOs to help scale and grow their business.