Do You Understand Your Business?
It is unfortunate, but there are leaders who truly do not understand the basic fundamentals of their organization.
Bear with me here and please do not misunderstand what we are sharing by interpreting our message to be that leaders need to understand all the details involved in creating and delivering their product or service.
They do not need to be experts in all facets of the business, but they do need to understand the basics involved to be able to make strategic and long-term decisions for the organization.
So in that vein, we encourage you to take a reflective moment and be brutally honest with yourself. Do you really understand your business?
Can you articulate your organization's vision, mission values and objectives clearly?
Do you have a sense of the roles your employees play in your meeting your goals and objectives? Are you able to articulate and explain why the organization has established those particular goals and objectives?
You may possess strong leadership qualities, but those qualities have little value if you do not actually understand your business.
Most leaders will share that they understand their businesses quite well. However, when you look deeper into the organization, it's clear that their lack of understanding is the source of a number of problems.
Here’s what can happen when a leader does not understand his or her organization well:
- Goals are set with little to no prior analysis or forethought, which causes companies to either fall short of their objectives or overshoot them by a considerable margin. This makes deliberate, measurable growth next to impossible.
- Employees follow suit. Salespeople might not understand what they are selling, and customer service employees cannot provide meaningful and quality service to their customers. Confidence from all parties drops, and the company suffers.
- It becomes difficult to foster employee engagement; if people see that leadership personnel do not understand the company and its objectives, they begin to ask “why should we?”
- Establishing a vision for the company's future turns into a hopeless proposition. With luck, the organization might survive, but chances are it will simply hang on until it no longer serves a purpose, or it is overrun by the competition.
In essence, besides thoroughly understanding the business, leaders need to think outside their own department or line of business to be truly effective.
What they do need to know is what their value proposition is, who their customers are, their target market, who their competition is, their products & services, and then bring together a team of experts with the right leadership skills to help build out a detailed strategy to set your business up for success.
Engage First to Understand
Understanding the business starts with your own level of engagement.
We talk about employee engagement a lot, but it is just as important for leaders to be engaged as well. Leaders need to be visible to their staff both virtually and in the trenches when necessary to help support the team and their customers.
Taking an interest in the nuts and bolts of service delivery to your customers is also key. Take the time to get hands-on experience around what your customers experience so you can understand how your organization delivers its products and service to customers. You would be amazed at what you learn.
The fact that you are reading this indicates that you care about your organization, and it’s a great opportunity for you to take stock of your own company and your own level of engagement and knowledge of the business.
Challenge yourself to better understand your company's vision, mission, and values. Take a deeper look at what your organization does and see if you can sum it up expertly in a few sentences. On the flip side, dive into the details of your organization's financials and its projections. Do you understand the numbers? Are you basing your leadership on real, quantifiable objectives, or are you pulling numbers out of a hat?
Challenge Yourself and Your Understanding
Strong, successful, and profitable organizations emphasize employee engagement and effective leadership, but this is not possible without an ability to understand the business in greater detail.
There are many leadership qualities that can help you succeed, but they have little value if you are unable to understand and explain what your business is all about. Do you want to ensure that your company grows and is profitable? Make sure you understand it!
Do you truly understand your business? Have you seen examples of companies led by people who just did not “get it”? Let us know what you think. I also invite you to give me a call today at 1.855.871.3374 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can help you better understand your business.