Tips For Creating A Sustainable Business
Published: January 28, 2020
Sustainable Business Thinking!
- For sustainable business margin, there needs to be a culture of sustainable economic thinking throughout the business. Sustainable margin must be designed into products and services, delivered to cost through good business processes and checked by good financial practices – including cash collection. All people in the business must be able to do their own maths and understand their own contribution through relevant and well-designed performance KPI’s. Have they been shown and taught how/why?
- Every business is only sustainable because it has something distinct as ‘an offer’ (not on offer!) that its customers continue to want. Innovation, quality and customer alignment is the substance of the engine under a sustainable business bonnet. Continual checking and development of these is key.
- Expect the seeds of leadership from everyone – proactivity, initiative etc. Let those that have capacity and motivation find their way into the management of function and scale. But prevent a culture of ‘top down management’ from taking root. Train your leaders to become ‘enabling leaders’.
- Don’t give way to the bureaucracy of things like performance reviews and appraisals. Implement frequent 1-to-1 relationship-based, person-centred coaching and mentoring – but make sure that this isn’t just a name change for ‘managing by objectives’.
- Spread your business risk by serving a broader client base and/or developing a ‘three-legged milking stool’ approach to business, i.e. multiple markets, products and/or services that will help smooth out the ups and downs of seasonal variation.
- Understand and develop the vital lines of communication between people, roles and functions across the business. Failure to communicate properly can cause unforeseen ‘knock-on’ effects across the whole organisation and can quickly lead to reduced profitability, unhappy customers and demotivated employees.
- Separate the task from the person, by creating systems of working that others can understand, operate and be responsible for in your absence. It’s the only way that you can successfully free up your time and maximise your value to the business.
- When recruiting new staff into the business, do not just ‘give them the job’. Invite them to take up the level of responsibility and vision that you’ve fully outlined in the interview process. Ask them to only accept the job when, with integrity, they can fully choose the role and the conditions of taking on complete role responsibility and accountability. Be prepared yourself to ‘let go and grow’.
“No matter how competitive the market, there is always room for the best!”
- Form the board and executive leadership in ‘sustainable business practices’. This is a complete education process to include development of a long-term sustainable strategy based on business raison d’être and to demonstrate why looking after the business and the supply chain will assure the sustainability of wealth and prosperity into the long-term.
- Unlock the natural capacities of ‘integrity governance’ in directors. Just like in the army where all ranks, regiments and corps (regardless of role) are trained as soldiers first, directors need to become ‘enabling leaders’ first, who are masters of running the business and hold systemic authority but do not collapse into becoming ‘a suit’ or enforcers of an inanimate system.
- Work up sustainable business policies, practices and protocols. The process of laying down ‘guidelines’ and ‘best practice’ can often lead to ‘the beginning of the end’ if the root-purpose for these is not reviewed regularly. A living system requires an adaption of principles and policies where leadership have local discretion and can apply judgement. Look to have both: ‘the spirit’ and ‘the letter’ of the law.
- Introduce a language of natural capabilities and vocation. Allow yourself and others to be their ‘authentic self’ at work. Foster alignment and connection between the people and their role in the business, so that engagement levels across the organisation are high.
- As part of frequent one-to-one’s with staff, check in with people regarding their own enjoyment, fulfilment and work-life balance. Educate people to work smart not hard – including yourself!
- Learn to manage out any behaviours that are outside of the common-law, moral code and integrity of life. Instruct people that these types of behavior only lead to ‘corrosion and divisiveness’ and are always borne out of self-interest. Reward honesty and transparency when encountering error or failure.
The above tips are taken from our FREE REPORT, ‘Breaking The Chain Of Business Unsustainability’. If you would like to read the full report, download a copy using the link below and save it to your device to read at your leisure.
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