5 Steps to Building a Solid Business Core

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As you study successful businesses, you’ll discover some stationary characteristics of these organizations. Most of the founders have built their businesses around key concepts that have remained constant. They have achieved organizational integrity because of these stationary, key concepts.Their customers are committed to them because of what they stand for. This can be called “organization integrity”. Organizational integrity is the condition when an organization’s parts fit together around a solid business Core. An analogy would be be an avocado or peach that grows and adapts around its ever-present Core. The Core never changes as it grows and the elements of the Core can be found in every piece of the fruit.

Great businesses have this “ever-present” Core. This Core is the prime component of the founders’ mindset. It’s always the basis for any business decision. Strategy, System development, employee acquisition and customer relations are built around this “ever-present’’ Core.

This is easier said than done. Our changing environment and daily responsibilities can easily get you off course. New opportunities can distort your mindset and send you in the wrong direction, but a patient and strong commitment to your established business Core will bring you lasting success.

In previous articles, I have described legacy businesses such as Birkenstocks, Delta and Amazon. They are excellent examples of long surviving businesses with solid or “ever-present” business Cores. If you want to build a long standing business read on.

Your Core must contain 5 well designed elements:

Your Mission/Purpose is your “core within your Core”. It is a declaration of why you exist as an enterprise. It is an overarching, unchanging expression of your business purpose and aspirations. It clearly describes what you want to accomplish. This is solid, it never changes because it represents why your business exists.

Unshakable Values are another set of elements of your solid core. These will support your Mission/Purpose and Vision. Values shape your business culture and reflect the ethics and character of your enterprise. Core Values help the organization run smoothly and help everyone involved make good decisions. These basic Values are permanent elements of your solid core.

A Vision is a picture of what success will be at a certain time in the future. It describes what the business will look like, how big it will be or what the business will be famous for. Specifically defining your Vision is the best foundation for your Management Strategy. Your Vision is one element of your Core that may experience a change as you grow. It is, however, a very strong element that generally stays the same. It is the most inspiring element of your Core.

A strong business Core contains clearly defined, implemented and establishedSystems. These systems are a combination of people and applications that meet your business goals and objectives. Systems contribute to the smooth operation of your enterprise and can change when necessary but they form another critical element of you rock solid business Core.

Talented workers are the last key components of your solid business Core. Therefore, only the very best fit for your business must be hired because of their importance to your Core. The best workers will be committed your Mission/Purpose, share your Values and are excited about your Vision. Careful selection is critical.

An orderly mind precedes an orderly environment. With a solid business Core, a business owner can work more efficiently, effectively and profitably because your mindset contains an image and awareness of your Core. Growth and iteration are also efficiently managed with a fortified business Core. GeniusCore training is organized to help business owners build their businesses with a well established solid Core.The book referenced below is a great start and can help you create and assimilate your Mission, Vision, Values, Talent and Systems to establish a fortified business Core for sustaining your enterprise for years to come. Experience “The audacity of rooted things”, the words of Cynthia Bond, as your business becomes rooted with a solid Core.

Complete guidance in: “20 Directives for Small Business Development: Do or Die”

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Understanding And Communications

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Managers must ensure that everyone in their organization understand the messages that they share about the business.  We’ve all heard the story of how a message can get distorted as it travels from person to person until the final interpretation is nothing like the original message.  Imagine what can happen if the original message was perceived differently by various members of your business when you first shared it with everybody and down the road, the misinterpretation gets misinterpreted!  If this type of individual interpretation of an important message happens enough it can actually destroy your business!  However, most situations are not that severe, but it draws attention to the importance of careful communication and the need to check for understanding.   Maybe you can see how differing interpretations of the same message can occur by considering the following examples.

Look at these three words: Vision– Do you mean the vision for the entire organization, the vision for my work area, or just someone’s dream? Loyalty– Do you mean faithfulness to the business, allegiance to the business, commitment to the business  or obedience  to someone?  AccountabilityDo you mean having the responsibility for something, being required to answer to someone, being liable for some action or having an obligation?  These are just a few of the interpretations that could occur for these three words because various thought processes may interpret these words in yet other ways.  There are many terms and phases that people interpret differently.  That’s why it is important to send  complete and clearly explained messages.

What causes these misunderstandings?  Our workforce consists of people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.  Let’s consider two potential causes:  Cultural differences which occur in communications practices, cultural traditions and cultural thought processes.  Conflict arises when one group thinks that their cultural differences are superior to others.  In situations like this, there is no room for understanding.  Generational differences may be present in an organization because it is possible to have four generations working side by side.  There may be traditionalists or “old school” workers, baby boomers, X generations and millennials all working together.  Each group will have different expectations, styles, preferences, as well as thought processes and traditions. So what on earth can a manager do?

The best thing to do primarily, is to get to know your stakeholders very well.  In addition to getting acquainted with your people it is also helpful to always check for understanding and clarify your communications in as many ways as possible.  For example, written follow up documents, follow up emails, or added one on one discussions are useful.  You’ll find that the effort you put into excellent communications practices will pay off in increased efficiency, effectiveness and business growth.

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw

 

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Communications Errors Retard Business Growth

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How we communicate plans, ideas, processes and other issues affects our business success in a significant way.  There are common errors that we all make and being aware of these errors is the responsibility of a great leader.  The following are eight errors that should be avoided at all costs.

 

1.“I know this, so everybody else should know it”

This is probably one of the most common mistakes that managers make.  They assume that if they know something everyone else should know it.  Managers have the responsibility of intentionally giving clear and relevant information or ensuring that everyone has the same understanding of the information.  An extensive analysis of the importance of shared understanding will be explored in a later post.

2. “Putting things in writing is too bureaucratic and not necessary.”

When businesses grow they require more and more communications.  If important communications are not in writing, operations, expectations or assumptions get confused creating chaos. Reliable and cohesive communications are essential.

3. “I think I told everybody.”

Sometimes, managers just assume that everybody knows.  They are not fully aware of who they might have told.  They just intended to tell everybody.

4. “They heard what I meant for them to hear.”

Our diverse workforce sees and interprets things differently.  Everyone doesn’t think the way we do. (Sad to say.)  Sometimes, we’re only aware of this situation when a big problem occurs because of confusion. More on this in a later post.

5. “We’re too busy to listen to each other.”

In this situation, there are frequent misunderstandings.  They do what’s urgent rather than working toward strategic goals.  This business is often found putting out fires.

6. “My job is to solve problems, not share information.”

Communications are bound to be a problem with this attitude.

7.“All I care about is efficiency or where did the money go?

We often generate lots of data concerning efficiency or economy that doesn’t relate to our overall strategic objectives.

8. “I think that employees should just do their jobs.  They don’t need much information.”

Again, mistakes, confusion, wasted resources, unmotivated people and loss of customers could be the results of not communicating strategic missions, visions and values.  Employees need to know how they contribute to the business with regular two-way communications and updates.  Good management communications skills are essential for great businesses.

 

“Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
— James Thurber

 

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