(Alignment, Direction, and Momentum = Success)
as published in the Summer Edition of the iNetpreneur Magazine, pages 11 and 12
Running a successful business is often a struggle. We hear all the time about companies going out of business. Even seemingly successful businesses will have a couple of good years only to be gone a couple of years later.
So, what is it that makes a business truly successful? Well in my mind, every business owner should want their business to run smoothly without them, while providing them a good profit, and to be an asset that they can someday sell or pass on when they are ready.
As I work with businesses throughout the country, I find that two common things are missing in many businesses that are not running smoothly: Alignment & Momentum
What is Alignment in Business?
Aligning your business means that you have specific, focused, outlined purposes that are clear and aligned throughout all the parts of your business. Many businesses struggle with not having true alignment through all aspects of their business: customer desires – marketing – sales – operations – employees – leadership – reporting – and outcomes.
For example, one client had misalignment when the sales team was promising things that were not in the system or even in the works, while the company was focused on improving the services in a totally different area and way. Likewise, though, there was misalignment with the marketing team, which was not focused on marketing the improvements that were in the works and showcasing the innovation on the company.
Think of it like a high-end sports car. The reason it performs so well is that, despite having a lot of different parts that all run separately, each part works together as a whole to achieve the final goal – power, speed, performance, smooth ride, and exhilaration. If any one of those parts is misaligned or not functioning right, the entire car suffers and the driver would not get the joy the precision machine could offer. Getting the parts aligned and making sure that the whole stays aligned and running smoothly is the only way to guarantee that you are getting the most from the potential of the sports car and that you are going to get where you want to go and in the style you desire.
A business is the same. With everything aligned to the same goal, it is easy to get all your business’s resources working together to move forward together toward achieving your ultimate goals. This is not a single event. This is an ongoing process, a mindset, and a way of doing business.
What is Momentum in Business?
Just like in many other aspects of life, the law of inertia applies to business. If you aren’t moving, you can’t keep moving. But if you are moving, you will keep moving. In other words, Inaction promotes Inaction; Action promotes Action.
However, many business owners have one, or both, of two problems:
First, many business owners are too busy managing the day-to-day and putting out fires to actually work on improving the business and keeping it ahead of the pack. The idea of improvement and working ON the business is not even a thought in their head. In this case, they are acting but it is not in the direction of the business growth goals. Instead of moving forwards, they are moving in circles.
The second option is that they get stuck in the endless cycle of “what if…”’s and planning out the future, without making any movements to reach that future. Unfortunately, no amount of planning can make up for the lack of action. Winston Churchill put this issue simply: “I never worry about action, but only inaction.” Tony Blair said the same thing but added the warning: “Whatever the dangers of the action we take, the dangers of inaction are far, far greater.” Going back to the sports car, a car may not always be heading in the right direction, but it definitely isn’t going to get anywhere if it remains parked.
One example of how important forward momentum can be in business is my forming coaching client, Jeff. Jeff was reluctant to make improvements in his business because he saw it as 1) time consuming, 2) something employees would resist, and 3) doubtful that any one change would make a big difference. After overcoming his objections, we made some rather small changes in the bidding and accounting practices. The results: ‘it was a small sacrifice for a big payoff,’ as Jeff put it, since their profit margins went up and the employees got on board. But the best part is that the culture of the company moved to one of momentum and improvement. The employees were not scared of change anymore; they started bringing improvement ideas to Jeff, stimulating and perpetuating the momentum. All these great results after relatively small changes.
For your business to continue moving forward toward your goals, you need to start taking steps now. Every little (or big) step forward to improving and approximating goals adds to the overall momentum of your business’s potential and future success.
Alignment + Direction + Momentum = Greater Business Success
Ultimately, though, as important as aligning your business strategies and processes is and as important as keeping the momentum of your business is, the only way to maximize your results and your business’s potential is to bring the two together. Once your goals are aligned with your business’s strategy and processes, then your actions and thus momentum can be directed specifically toward improving and achieving your goals.
Coming back to the sports car analogy, again, with everything functioning correctly and aligned in the engine, then the car just needs to be started, put in drive, and directed toward the destination. And just like driving, 95% of our time should be looking forward, 5% looking back, and very little looking down. With this, working together it is a lot easier to keep the end goal in sight and to achieve more of your potential faster.