Q Squared Ltd.

Define.Improve.Grow

Q Squared Ltd.

Define.Improve.Grow

Is your company ready for success?

Do you have a well thought out, sound business plan? Have you bought the best tools and equipment that you can afford to start your venture? What about the people that you have hired? Believe it or not, you can have all of these with the best facilities and all the other bells and whistles and still not succeed! Sounds crazy? Welll believe it and save yourself the headache later on!

Many owners, managers, investors often get caught up in thinking about all these traditional factors that make a successful business but often omit the other aspects of the business that keeps the business together like a well oiled machine and ultimately moves it along to improvement and even makes it easier for scalability, innovation and evolution of the company. 

By now you must be wondering what these are? What can be so important that I missed it?......Well let me say it is not rocket science and you don't need to have a degree to figure it out! You just need to understand how things work....You can have the best cake mixer that money can buy (the one that is used by Duff or Buddy: if you don't know who these are then take a look at Food Network) but still not bake the best cake. But why? You still don't know what to do! How do I use this mixer? What do I want to  make? What ingredients do I need and how much? How do I put these ingredients together to get exactly what I want? How do I check to ensure that all is going well before I get to the end? All these are important questions that are well worth thinking about. Aren't they? After all, this cake mixer isn't going to get up and do this all by itself. And even if there is automation, these are questions that still need answers before you get to the automation stage (we will talk more about that in another article). 

So what does cake and mixers have to do with a successful business? Well it has everything to do with it! Think about it! As a business owner, CEO, senoir manager, employee, if you don't have a map and a destination or a recepie and an expected outcome, you are going nowhere soon, despite your illusions. The point is to achieve success while eliminating most of the miscommunication, losses and frustration. you need to know exactly what you want to do, who is going to do it, how you are going to do it, how to know if you are doing it well and how to know if you have done it and most importantly let the team you are working with know!

The mere thought of some of these questions may be daunting, especially if you have not really thought about these before. How am I going to manage all of these? And we haven't even thought about other factors that affect the success of your company mixed in with the people aspect and training, human error, social and economic climate, safety requirements, laws, social media trends and others. Yes, I can see your head spinning and that worried look on your face; but do not despair! Some people say where there is a will, there is a way. I prefer to say where there is a will, there is a management system that can be built for success and continuous improvement! 

So where do you start? Here are some simple yet useful tips to begin your journey to creating a system that works for you. Make sure and write the answers to these down. Writing things down is always a great idea. It allows you to truly have a look at what is staring back at you and it literally helps you to see the picture a bit better or in some cases piece together the puzzle. So here we go! Here is what you want to seriously think about:

1. What do I want to achieve? Even if it is a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacioius Goal!) still write it down and state exactly what you want. Make sure it is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely (Time Bound)). Some people call this your Vision and Mission!

2. Once you have decided what you want; write down what you need to achieve these or how you PLAN to achieve your goals. Now you are figuring out what you need and what you are going to do to get these (beg, buy, borrow or old fashioned work your butt off!) and how you plan to use these to achieve your goals. It is important to bear in mind at this point, that you need to also consider not only the tangible aspects but also intangible ones, such as expertise or experience, skills and training. Also, consider what steps you need to do in detail to get to your end game (processes) and how each of these are going to work together to help you achieve success (system). Remember: no matter how small or insignficant it may seem, still write it down. After all it may not be that insignificant if you thought about it! Also, don't worry, it does not have to be perfect, there will always be adjustments when the ball is set in motion (this is what we call continuous improvement! and is a great part of any journey!)

3. Now that you have exhausted the list of everything that you think you may need, you need to figure out once you have set things in motion, how do you know if you are achieving what you want to? (In quality and thanks to Deming, we call this the "Check" stage) Here is where defining exactly what you (or your customer) wants in the beginning becomes important and that "M" in smart comes into play. We have to define what is important to success and how we are going to measure these to ensure that we are on track. These can be as simple as the number of social media likes in a week or as complex as the number of items produced with a tolerance range. You decide. After all, you need to know and understand what you are looking for.

4. After all is said and done, we have planned, implemented the plan and determined how to really check for success, now we can see where there is room for improvement by reviewing your performance (KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) or OKR's (Objectives and Key Results) and seeing if we are indeed on track or if adjustments need to be made (Act) to steer the vehicle back onto the road. If we are on track, there is no need to sit back and relax, there is always room for improvement and space to motivate your team to achieve even more success. It is when you get to this stage as an organisation that you are really beginning to win!

You are now on your way to beginning to think about and implement measures that will assist you on your journey to be successful. Does it have to be complex? Do you need to have an 800 page manual? Maybe not (depending on the complexity and risks which a topic for another discussion). All you need is to start thinking in the right frame. Start small and simple and surely you will begin to see the growth of your system and company or business.

All the best and always remember to PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act)!