The new millennium ushered in seismic change in for-profit and non-profit companies across all business sectors. “Business as usual” is now the new watch phrase. Previous success and experience does not inform a constantly shifting, uncertain future. Business cycles have shortened from 20 to 10 years at the end of the last century to every three years today.
The challenge for leaders revolves around the level of denial festering in their companies at all levels. Boards, C-suite executives, and staff of the companies they lead are frequently looking through the review mirror at what worked in the past. History offers a false sense of comfort but is not a strategy for long-term sustainability. The bottom line is: no outcomes—no income. Companies must produce both value-based outcomes of stellar quality at the best price for their current core business and must innovate or die.
Thus, renewing your business to assure long-term sustainability and relevancy is an imperative for leaders of the C-suite. Business renewal is not cost-cutting. Downsizing and restructuring technically are relatively easy to do but are like using a chain saw to carry out complicated surgery. True, the excess is removed quickly and immediately improves profitability in the short-term. The strategic question is: Will the patient survive in the long term from the trauma? Disruption in quality and damaged trust of customers, business partners, and staff can create a downward spiral of profits and more cost-cutting the company cannot recover from.
Business renewal is a much more sophisticated approach that leaves the resultant business stronger not weaker from the process.
Business renewal incorporates:
- Creating the strategic idealized state for the optimum business future,
- Developing a wholistic plan founded on—
- A refreshed mission, vision, and values;
- Focused strategies, tactics, desired outcomes, and analytics to measure whether outcomes are achieved;
- An internal and external communication plan that spans from the board room to the customer; and
- Clear accountabilities for producing outcomes at all levels of the company and consequences for not achieving the outcomes.
- Engaging the board, leaders, and staff in the change process;
- Re-engineering systems and processes to eliminate waste and rework which improves quality, efficiency, and cost outcomes;
- Using a surgical scalpel to excise “unhealthy tissue;”
- Implementing strategic innovations;
- Assuring outcomes measures and accountability for producing outcomes is aligned from the board room to the customer;
- Executing the plan despite expected and unanticipated resistance; and
- Not settling for less than excellence in the results.
To reiterate, business renewal leaves the resultant business stronger not weaker from the process. The intangible currency that allows businesses to thrive—customer and staff loyalty—not only remains intact, loyalty is enhanced with a higher level of trust in the integrity of the company and product.