I have been very busy over the course of the last two months with a number of new business consulting opportunities. The size of the companies involved has been from several million dollars in revenue to those well over one hundred million dollars in revenue. We have discussed broad strategic issues in each of the businesses including market competition, price opportunities, operating efficiencies, communication, service offerings for re-occuring revenue streams and a host of other initiatives. The interesting thing in all of this is how quickly we come back on each issue to the current personnel, the capability/capacity of those folks and the need to identify ways to grow, recruit and/or develop stronger personnel solutions for the needs of the business going forward. I could write about many examples in detail but I want to use one ongoing activity that really re-enforces the title of this blog.
I am working directly with the CEO of a very fast growing business that has to find ways to both continue to grow the organization dramatically, serve the customer flawlessly despite record growth, protect price and margin via best in class performance and control the cost efficiency of this very fast growing enterprise. I know this sounds like a great problem to have for many of my readers but it as challenging a situation as you can have because a few missteps and the business never gets these opportunities again. When you think about these challenges, I can not help but ask first about the organizational competence/teamwork at the CEO level of direct reports and then their direct reports. I always ask this question by asking for the rating of this leadership team as a “A”, “B” or “C” player. My definition of these ratings is “A” player –capable of moving two levels up in the organization, “B” player–capable of moving up one level in the organization or executing equally as well in a lateral move and “C” player–not performing to job standard and hurting the overall effectiveness of the organization. Typically, I have been taught to believe that you should have about 10 to 15% “A’s”, 10-15% “C’s” and the balance are “B’s” at various levels of performance in that broad spectrum. I believe this is critical to know and confront honestly in your existing organization because if you can not understand and act on your current weaknesses as well as know where to focus on promoting valuable personnel, how can you ever plan, coach, hire and mentor for success especially in a growth business.
The CEO of this particular business completed this analysis during the December timeframe and we then had a six hour dialogue about the current team, the organization structure, the team dynamics, action plans for the “C” players and promotion opportunity for a couple of “A” players as the business moves forward in the critical performance year ahead. I am extremely excited that this CEO did his homework with brutal honesty and he is now preparing for changes, communication and organizational developmental moves that will drive business success in 2012 and I believe business greatness in the years beyond that! There is simply no way to move a business forward in its overall performance without this work being organizational reality work being done year in and year out as the cornerstone of the business.