Today, in Part 5 of this series on Anti-Fragility Fitness, we’re looking at Business Management. This domain has five key areas of importance:
We’ll take a look at these five essential aspects of Business Management, and dive even deeper in the audio presentation below.
Innovating is first and foremost about staying creative. It’s about generating energy and clarity, both in your own ideas and to keep your team in a state of creativity. Through our actions and leadership, we can show teams what it means to be creatively oriented – and see those creations through with action.
That means it’s also about the doing. It’s more than just brainstorming ideas. It’s letting go of judgment and cynicism, accepting things as they truly are, and taking the actions required to transform ideas into reality.
Start with what matters most to you. What do you want to create, and what would be possible if you brought that into being? Next, recognize and honor the nowness of your current scenario, and use it to drive your creative actions.
We’re inextricably linked to the systems we’re a part of. We simultaneously exist inside of them AND create them. We receive the system’s effects while we enact them. That means innovating from a place of honesty, acknowledging the present while creating the future.
Invite your team to be a part of this process. Ask them to reflect on current reality, as well as the calling they feel from this reflection. This calling, both your own and your team’s, is the guiding force of innovation, the path to building the future from the reality of now.
Optimizing is all about systems that can be shored up or tuned up. Ask yourself what’s available for optimization RIGHT NOW. To do this, evaluate several key areas of your business, then drill into the minutiae.
Start with your lead generation process. Write down the 10 key activities (and the people who perform them) for getting leads, then go through the list item by item to identify where they could be improved. Look for wasted energy, underused tools, and dead weight that can be removed. Similarly look for what’s working best, what actions are yielding the greatest results, and consider how you can double down on them.
Continue this same process for your sales efforts. Write down the 10 key sales processes. Where’s the dead weight in your systems? What sales tools are closing deals and earning the most revenue? Trim what’s unnecessary and refine what works best.
Next, repeat the process for your client fulfillment/client experience. Look at the impact of each interaction with your clients, and carefully examine what’s truly making a difference in how they feel.
For each list, identify what to change and where. For each series of systems, is there a manual? Are there clear expectations and instructions, or is their wiggle room that leads to errors and suboptimization? This is the discipline of documentation, and accurately documenting the changes you want to implement ensures that they’ll be done with clarity and consistency.
Better systems mean better value, better business continuity, and better execution throughout your organization.
When we don’t change, we hold ourselves back from achieving our potential, and optimizing your business is all about making deliberate changes that stick.
As the leader or your organization, you’re the conductor of the symphony. It’s your job to bring the pieces together in harmony and shared tempo, communicating what everyone needs to know and building a sense of relentless urgency in the areas that matter most.
This requires high standards and fanatical discipline for sticking to those standards. The team is at its best when they’re operating from a shared vision, from a sense of community that you foster.
Now, it’s important to remember that this perfectly unified vision is an ideal to strive for, not necessarily an achievable reality. Some people will be wildly committed. Others will be compliant, and still others will begrudgingly go along – or not go along at all.
Still, if your vision is noble enough, and clear enough, you’ll get more “yes” than “no” from the people who truly align with your purpose. We should all be looking for the people who are committed and enrolled in the process with us – those who share our vision and have the creative drive to make it a reality by our side.
You’re looking for alignment between the mothership (you, the leader), and the satellites that orbit around it (your team). Their contributions are essential, but the mission and message begins with you.
Like optimization, controlling costs is a matter of drilling into the specifics of your process to find dead weight and wasted energy. What costs support your change efforts, and what can you cut that isn’t contributing?
Get your team involved in this part of the process. Share your plans for innovation and optimization, and get their input about the KPIs that will reflect whether or not the efforts are working. Understand what your specialists are doing day-to-day, the costs associated with those activities, and encourage feedback about what can be improved, what’s not working, and any other firsthand information from the “boots on the ground.”
Maintain regular communication through scheduled meetings, huddles among leaders, and updates throughout the organization. Getting key leaders involved in the gritty details of controlling costs reduces the chance of problems and provides you with critical perspective that guides your change initiatives.
Organize your files, documents, playbooks, and any other tools so that everything is accessible to those who need it. Empower your team to move efficiently and effectively, relying on clear, optimized systems that don’t leave important actions to guesswork. Again this is the discipline of documentation.
This 5-lane freeway composes the key aspects of your business model. Think about immediate action steps to support each track. If they’re all done well, you’re going to have a beautiful cashflow machine that retains people, buys more time with your money, delights your employees, and creates something unprecedented.
In the next audio, we’ll cover Financial Management, our last domain of concern in the important work of Anti-Fragility Fitness. See you then!
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