Boost Your Business Success With These Seven Management Steps

Seven steps in business management. This might be a helpful video and article if you are in business management.

And it's based on my 40 years, in business,  in organisations and 20 years providing consultancy services to the chief executive of different organisations, sizes, and countries. After a while, you start to see a pattern. Here is my take on what I'm looking for in the organisation's business management.

So the first thing I'm looking for is why? Why does the business exist? Do the people who are running the company, they usually do, but do they know why they are in business? And this is the question which is very popular these days, and it typically comes under the words called, Purpose and also values.

Purpose and values are two words which answer the question of why, but I do have to say, at this point, it's not an intellectual answer. It's not something you can take from a book. It's something that has to come from your heart. Even if that word alienates you, you will find it comes from your heart, even if it's just money you like.

Okay? I'm going through the rest of these steps, and at the end, I will give you a viewpoint which might surprise you because it's given little air time.  

The second step in business management is vision - groan. Did you groan? Yes. Tick. You know that, don't you?

There'll be many things in this that you might know, but there may be something helpful to you. Now why vision? In the ancient manuscripts, you will find out if you care to read them that to materialise, first of all, you have to conceptualise. So conception comes before materialisation.

And if you think about how we procreate that, it makes sense. We conceive before we, uh, actually produce the physical goods. If you can conceptualise, then you will be able to create a vision that you can follow so you and other people can follow.

The third step in, uh, business management is about capability. Do you have, does your organisation have the capacity to deliver the Purpose that you are pursuing? So do you or your organisation have the power to provide the Purpose you seek in the way you want to pursue it? Do you have that today? And do you have that for tomorrow? Are the capabilities you need for tomorrow different from those you need today?

And your capabilities are critical because they deliver for your customer and help you fashion your strategy.

The fourth step, once you've got your Purpose and your values, your why, once you've got your vision, once you've conceived and you have your idea and your capability, is to define some specific objectives.

Only some people like this. But you want to define some specific objectives. Some people call this number one clear objective a mission, and I'm putting that in there so that you know we've covered that language.

And you might have three specific objectives, and if you've got six people in the company, you want the six people to know the particular objectives. And if you've got a hundred thousand people in the company, you want 100,000 people to know the specific goals. And if the 100,000th person can't say there are three - A, B, C - then you know you've got something to give attention to.

Once you have the specific objectives, we discuss management and control. So what do I mean by that? In a small business, there will be reports like the profit and loss, the cash balance at the bank, the cash flow going forward, and the balance sheet.

And you want to have these regularly so that you know the score. In a larger organisation, they're likely looking at these every day, not just once a month. And in a larger organisation, they will also measure brand share, brand awareness, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and technical competence.

There'll be many other measures, but the point is, when you've got your specific objectives, you want to manage and control your progress, and it comes through measuring your distance towards your goals.

And there are techniques like management by exception, uh, where you have variances within which you can operate like a traffic light system. And if all the lights are on green, you can take time to take care of yourself. If they're on amber, you need to be paying attention. If they're on red, you must do something about it. Simplicity helps when you are measuring and controlling the organisation.

Everyone can understand it.

Then the fifth step, uh, in business management, is having a story. It has a story because stories help you recruit individuals' hearts and minds into your game. If you're playing professional football, if you are playing professional basketball or if you are in the sailing team, whatever it is, there will be a story which will unite everyone together.

She was winning the European Cup, for example.

 I will give you several examples so you know what I mean. In, uh, history, we have the, the Trojan Horse and the Trojan Horse are two words that bring to mind the story of Helen of Troy, the battle to retrieve Helen of Troy.

It's called the Trojan Horse. The Trojan horse may mean something different to you these days with computers. Uh, but it was all about Helen of Troy in ancient Greece.

Coming closer to the present day, the Armada was defeated using a couple of stories - fire ships and a long gun.

Recently we have the Gulf War in 1990/91, and we have the left hook deception, the left hook deception. Everybody in military circles that was in that operation knew what that meant. I wonder if all the troops knew what they were doing - the left hook deception.

But that is the story or the strategy that they employed.  

We have three words in consumer goods: Do It, Nike. We have Every Little Helps, Tesco,  one of the big grocers in the UK. We have The Ultimate Driving Machine or the ultimate driving experience, BMW.

Now, all of these are vivid stories.

The Trojan Horse. Two words. The Left Hook, two words. Five Ships, two words. Do it, Nike, three words. Every Little Helps. Three words. BMW, the ultimate driving machine, or experience - three or four words. The point is That you want something that evokes and everyone can remember easily.

Okay, so the seventh step, and this is the one that, this is the one that can, can sometimes get missed out. If you've got people who run a business, they are confident. If you've got people who have, throughout their career, risen to the top of that organisation, the CEO of a major organisation, they're confident.

They are usually articulate. They can generally present a point of view. They can typically stand for what they are trying to communicate. However, they think they could be better. I have to put it that way. I have to put it down to the fact that they don't know. There needs to be a skillset set added.

So when you work with the chief executive or their directors, and you are working on a strategy, they won't be shy about putting their point of view. They might be nervous about putting their point of view. Sometimes that's part of the problem, but the real issue is that they don't listen to each other.

They don't know how to listen to each other.

They sometimes take a point of view as opposition - when it's just the expression of a point of view, which will remain in the system until the antagonist feels the act of listening. The antagonist will chirp away until they feel somebody listening. So if you've got someone in your organisation chirping away, chances are no one's listened to what they have to say.

If this is in your management team, this becomes a real issue. It would help if you learned how to listen to the sensory information that that person is presenting and allow them a hearing, allow them to be acknowledged experientially, allow them to be listened to, or else they won't be able to hear your ideas. Some people have this person-to-person communication - it's one of the main reasons they function, and it's undoubtedly one of the main reasons it begins to become dysfunctional. And if it's not functional, they will destroy value persistently until they've proved themselves right?

So this aspect of person-to-person communication is crucial in business management - as you will know.

Now if you look at those seven steps, the why, the vision, the capability, the specific objectives, management and control, story and communication. The last time I looked at this bit of paper, at least four of those, and this is the thing for you to consider, at least four of those are soft skills.

Soft skills. Why is that important? Well, in everyday life, people will say, cynically, look at the numbers. Forget about everything else. Just tell me the score. Look at the numbers. Now the score is essential. Suppose you are in the professional football leagues, for example. In that case, the score tells you or the points you get to tell you where you are regarding your professional football management and business management.

The results don't lie - one of the cliches of the football world - the score doesn't lie. The points table doesn't lie. And it's like that in business, except the skills that create the value are soft skills; the skills that produce the value are soft skills, and I want you to pay some attention to that message.

Thank you.

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