A defining element of Lean transformation is the aspect of continuous improvement – all areas of the business, every day, seeking ways to make things better, easier, less frustrating, more effective. Essentially, this improvement is achieved through solving problems; continuous improvement consequently means continuously solving problems…reflecting on this, if we want to be good at continuous improvement we better get good at this problem solving stuff!
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In every organisation the top team is that critical component that is tasked with setting the wheels in motion. The way in which the top team operates sets an example for the rest of the organisation and can and should be a motivating example for the rest of the business. But just how effective are top teams in setting an organisation on the right course? And how good are they in engaging and motivating employees to do what is needed?
Bill Gates once said, ‘your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.’ But measuring customer complaints can be problematic and unreliable. While I would acknowledge the value of customer feedback, based on my experience of working with SMEs, I would suggest another way to measure customer satisfaction that is both cost effective and powerful in its impact on the business.
Most businesses actually lose money on the first sale or two to any customer. It is only through repeat custom that businesses can generate real cash flow and profits. So how do businesses keep customers coming back? Why don’t customers come back to one business while they return over and over again to a different business that sells the same products or services? It comes down to a few basic things:
Hans Selye, the Austrian endocrinologist is credited with introducing the word stress into our modern lexicon.
At ActionCOACH, we often refer to cashflow as the life-blood of your business. By managing the money that is coming into and out of your business well, you will keep your business alive and allow it to thrive. However, even the most profitable business ventures will fail if they run short of cash.
If you are experiencing cashflow problems you are certainly not alone. In fact, cashflow is one of the most cited reasons why more than half of Irish businesses fail in their first four years.
Have you noticed that so many of the great managers – and leaders – are really odd?
This can be seen not only in business with enigmatic leaders like Apple’s Steve Jobs (described by Bill Gates as “fundamentally odd”), but also in some of the more eccentric characters we see in sport – take for example football managers like José Mourinho, Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough.
In Part I of this item, we identified four elements that all providers of finance look at. You have to be able to deal with these if you are going to convince them to finance your business. In Part II, we look more closely at each of these four elements. (Part I is available here)
So, there are three core elements that everyone looks at:
We have all heard the phrase "Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail". That is why planning, and having a live business planning document is the key to sustained growth in any business. But what stops us from executing our business plan and achieving our goals?
After working with dozens of businesses, there seems to be a few very consistent trends...
1) Business owners like ‘doing’ the work themselves!