One of the questions we usually ask the business owners and managers we work with is precisely this:
“What would you like to change about your company?”
Although it sounds simple, it often provokes quite diverse reactions.
The answers can range from “everything” to more surgical issues, such as increasing sales, decreasing costs, getting paid on time, and so on…
But the answer I was given this week by a top management board of a large company was:
“Look, I don’t know. I don’t know where to start.”
The problems were so many that this person specifically didn’t know where to turn anymore. This situation comes up quite often to our team these days in the field.
With the pandemic, the decrease in consumption, the increase in fuel prices, and with…
But does all this matter?
It has to be taken into consideration, but it has to be a new variable in the market.
And even though our team is quite optimistic, it is this variable that we have been advising our clients to keep in their heads when making plans and expectations.
In other words, plan for a scenario where the difficulties are still there for a while longer.
Why? So that you can plan for the worst and hope for the best, as we say internally.
The question is, going back to the article’s subject, how can we change something in the company in this kind of economic climate.
One of the things I usually ask companies in these situations is what their “Vision” and “Mission” are.
“Mission and Vision?” you are probably thinking.
Vision and mission? Yes, we want to validate whether the company has principles that guide its actions or, in most cases, if they had and no longer remember them.
The other day, with this same businessman, while waiting in the lobby, as usual, I took the time to go into observation mode.
To see if people are still smiling in the company (even though they are wearing masks), what level of stress you can hear in their voices, what they have hanging around. Looking at the walls, I came across a board with the Mission and Vision of the company written on it.
I won’t write them down here so as not to disclose the company in question, but it was quite strong, denoting a culture of excellence towards its customers.
I was especially impressed by the Vision, which showed a clear path, established perhaps many years ago, a factor that was evident in the yellowish color of the paper and the bad weather conditions that were already evident on the board.
After some conversation, one of the questions I put to the entrepreneur was precisely about his Vision and Mission at the meeting.
He looked pretty surprised as if he did not recognize them.
This company had once had that culture of excellence, but now, with the evolution of the times and the pressure of numbers and margins, had completely forgotten it.
After several working sessions with Top Management, we concluded that what had made them successful in the past was precisely their Vision and Mission, which had once been very clear in the minds of everyone working there.
After some deliberations with the Management, we came to the consensus that the changes to be made, which was why we had been hired, would be based on this.
To go back to basics, which in practice had nothing basic at all, and to reorient the company again according to the mission and Vision established five years ago.
After a general meeting with everyone, three working groups were established, and in all of them there was a mix of new people and people from the time when the mission and Vision of the company were kings and queens inside the doors.
Within three months, we began to see changes, and the reaction from customers was especially rewarding.
By refocusing the company on the culture of excellence and customer service that had previously earned them their success, they slowly began to gain ground on the competition.
Today the company is still not out of the red but already shows substantial signs of recovery and has even been able to get back the support of the banks and a new lease on life in financial terms.
Tell me something, what about your company?
Do you also have a board with the Mission and Vision already a little yellowed, lost on a wall somewhere in your premises?
This week take a moment to think, review the main changes from the company’s golden days to now and put your company back on the road to success.
Also published on Medium.