As a CEO/Founder, you have already taken your company from point A to point B. You have survived the initial 2 to 5 years of journey to build a company. Now you clearly understand what kind of people will be able to work with you and in your company, and most importantly you are revenue positive too.
Now it time to scale your company and take it from point B to point C. And this kind of scaling comes with its own kind of challenges. It’s the time you must bring in more experts inside your company especially at the leadership and mid-managerial positions. And most importantly, allow them to run the show on your behalf. Since people will be executing things on your behalf and you will move from PUSH to PULL mode of execution, you must invest heavily in the organization, people efficiency & effectiveness. The 3 most important work areas for you apart from arranging capital to support execution are
- Hiring right kind of people.
- Constantly aligning People beyond Leadership with your Strategic and Annual Business Plan.
- Investing in people efficiency and effectiveness.
1. Hiring right kind of people
Hiring the right people is the core of every business. It makes sense to outsource your hiring if you choose to remain small. To grow your business from point B to C, you need more people.
It starts with investing in the right kind of talent acquisition team who will be in charge of hiring the right people for you. And making sure your existing people are accountable for hiring the right people. And make your talent acquisition team accountable for hiring the people with right kind of behaviors.
The first step of hiring the right kind of people is to create the data-driven process of hiring. You create the Interview Score Cards which are easy to be understood by employees who are hiring on your behalf. These interview scorecards are created for each department separately. Even if you don’t want to score people, just identify the required skills and required behaviors specific to your company and mark it yes and no.
Team member 1
Team member 2
|Behavior – 1|
|Behavior – 2|
|Behavior – 3|
|Behavior – 4|
Example : Hiring a Sales Manager
Team member 1
Team member 2
|Ability to hiring the Sales People|
|Ability to train the new Sales People|
|Ability to pitch the product/service with clarity|
|Ability to Build Relationships|
|Realistic and Rational|
|Open Minded/Open to Change|
|Ability to Learn new things|
|Disciplined to the core|
- Constantly aligning People beyond Leadership with your Strategic and Annual Business Plan
Probably Strategic Business Plan and Annual Business Plan(also called Annual Operating Plan) are big jargonish words for you. Many first-time entrepreneurs & CEO’s don’t understand them, and many feel that it’s a corporate company thing.
Strategic Business Plan(SBP) is about what you as the founder(s) & CEO want to achieve in next 3 to 5 years. Its about what point “C” looks like. If you don’t want to put in detailed SBP, you can simply put in place 3 to 5 statements indicating what as a company you want to achieve in the next 3 to 5 years. Draft these statements and get these statements validated by your leadership team.
Annual Business Plan(Also called Annual Operating Plan) is about how as a company you have to performance in a particular financial year to meet your Strategic Business Plan. Many companies break down their revenue targets till sales executive level and think they are done with it.
And many do create a plan beyond achieving sales number during their annual offsite; but post that CEO struggles to see the action plan and execution on that action plan. Here is a quick step-by-step process to set your Annual Operating Plan and to make sure execution happen on that plan.
- Before annual offsite, share the 3 to 5 statements that describe what needs to be achieved in that financial year. These 3 to 5 statements should be linked(aligned) with your strategic business priorities.
- Validate these annual priority statements with your team before going to onsite.
- While you are preparing for the offsite, ask the team now to come up with 1 to 5 projects & goals for the next 3 to 6 months that will help the company to achieve these annual priorities.
- During the offsite, the entire leadership team validates those projects. And put in place the action plan & milestones to achieve those projects & goals.
- Post offsite, leadership team discuss, validate and correct these projects with their respective teams. And put this plan in action for execution.
Though this sounds simple, making sure that the team remain focused on drafting the projects and milestones to achieve those projects. You need to put a person in charge who will own this entire end to end process & activity. Usually, this person has a very good understanding of your business horizontally and to whom rest of the team members will listen to.
Frameworks like Objective and Key Results (OKR) can help you in achieving how to creating the strategic and annual plan and how to link people and execution with this plan.
- Investing in people efficiency and effectiveness
This is the part where most of the CEO fails to do a good job. And end up hiring the team of consultants/guru who end up giving you ready to eat meals which probably don’t work for your company. Organization effectiveness and efficiency is majorly about:
- 3. a) Properly defining the business KPI’s & Projects to achieve your achieve your Annual Business Plan.And then making sure execution happens on to achieve those KPIs and Projects.
- 3.b) Investing in tools that enhance productivity and get work done.
- 3.c) Enhancing leadership capabilities through training or workshops
3.a) Properly define the business KPI’s and Project:
Most employees hate taking accountability towards what needs to be achieved by them in a company. And most managers take the decision of who is making progress and who is not based on perception; not on data. When the company invest time in setting up the process to define KPI’s and projects to achieve execution properly, it enhancing decision making, transparency from top to bottom and reduces biases between teams and across the company.
3.b) Investing in processes and tools to enhance productivity: The next question to answer is what kind of tools are required by employees so that it can enhance & accelerate the execution on business KPI’s and Projects to be executed. Many companies invest time in drafting a plan, but only a few invest time and resources in making sure that the plan gets executed. At company level you primarily need 3 kinds of tools :
- One that enhances execution on your Business KPI’s and Projects. Example: CRM’s, Project Management tools, Goal-setting tools, Task management tools.
- Second is that help the company in enhancing customer centricity. Example: Tools to measure customer satisfaction, tools to listen to customer voice/opinions and tools to provide awesome customer support.
- Third are tools that reduce administrative work. Example: Financial Support Systems, HRMS etc.
Not all listed tools are required immediately. You need to decide which tools are more important and which can be implemented later. Another important point here is, many of these tool implementations fail for many companies. This happens because of many reasons. I am listing down few of them for you:
- Company is not able to define the requirement clearly and you end up buying something which doesn’t fulfill your need.
- An Owner and internal champions are not defined who is responsible for successful implementation.
- Vendor is not helping the company to identify their requirements.
- Company doesn’t go into the detail on evaluating the tool in detail and don ask the right question.
- A UAT (User Acceptance testing) is not done properly against the requirement before rolling out to the larger audience.
- Not leveraging vendor expertise in implementing solution successfully.
- Owner of implementation is more bothered about her learning from the implementation than successful implementation.
3.c) Enhancing your leadership capabilities through training or workshops
The first few training or brainstorming sessions you need to invest are in:
- Visioning Workshops
- Team Alignment workshop
- Building accountability across company workshop
Visioning: In a 1996 HBR article, James Collins and Jerry Porras showed that companies with a strong sense of vision had outperformed the others in the stock market by a factor of 12 since 1925! Vision reflects what we care most about and is derived from our sense of purpose and values. It provides meaning, attracts commitment, and focuses human energy by drawing on our deepest yearnings in striving towards a purposeful goal. Visions provide a clear, easily understood image of a better future. Strong visions inspire employees. They embody values & behaviors, provide people in the company the purpose, and direct them to what will be different and distinctive.
Team Alignment : The biggest challenge we have seen while implementing qilo is that of alignment towards the annual and long-term goals of the company. A simple test of this is to “ask your employees what are the 3 to 4 things the company wants to achieve in this financial year”. Almost 80% people in the company fail to answer this. This is CEO and leadership failure, not employee failure. With alignment workshop, focus on communicating what company wants to achieve and help people align their work with CEO’s agenda.
Accountability workshop: Accountability means I will deliver the expected results from me, come what may. I will collaborate with people across teams and will not wait to be lead by someone to get work done. Building the behavior of accountability is far more difficult. And that the reason companies prefer people from top institutes and people with the excellent academic record because it shows that the likelihood of this person being accountable for execution is very high. But every company doesn’t have access to these people, and the best way to build this behavior is to constantly communicate about the importance of the same across the company.
- Invest in setting up the strong process and people who hire on your behalf.
- State your strategic business priorities in 3 to 5 statements.
- Draft 3 to 5 statements that will summarize your annual business plan. And link these statements with your strategic business plan statements.
- Invest in enhancing your leadership capabilities. And invest to set up processes and tool to enhance people productivity.