This article is based on a podcast I recorded with Melanie Towey of Melanie Anne, a business coach and EOS implementor.
As a company grows, having a central strategy becomes more and more critical. That’s true of any kind of business, but many building material companies are caught off guard by this.
Without a central strategy, departments tend to act independently from each other instead of working toward a common goal.
It’s a problem in smaller companies as well. Without a clear strategy, some things just don’t get done. Employees wear multiple hats but don’t have well-defined responsibilities.
When everyone does a bit of everything, who answers the phone? The answer is no one does. Because when everybody’s responsible for something, nobody is responsible.
If you’re a business leader without a central strategy, that leaves you with only one thing: hope.
Hope that your salespeople are doing a good job selling your product.
Hope that your customers are actually going to buy it.
Hope that your marketing program will actually work.
And if there’s one thing we know, it’s that hope is not a strategy. Hope is the opposite – it’s uncertainty. And the flipside of uncertainty is risk.
If you’re relying on hope instead of strategy, you’re risking your entire business.
How to Implement a Better Strategy
If you want your business to succeed and thrive, you need every person in your organization to be aligned. From top to bottom, everyone needs to know the company’s mission and the role they play in achieving it.
However, you have to avoid the trap of overcomplicating your business. Your mission needs to be crystal clear, which means it should be as simple as possible.
“We are a business that does X because of Y.”
That’s it. Short and sweet.
That way, there’s no confusion. Everyone knows exactly what the company stands for and what it aims to accomplish.
This matters because, as a company leader, your words have a massive influence. You need to stand before your entire organization, explain your strategy and make a compelling case for adopting it. Keeping it simple will help you communicate that.
EOS: Simplifying Your Building Materials Business
To get everyone moving in the same direction, you need a system for managing all the human energy in your business.
A system will allow you to create a clear path, which will lead to an increase in operational efficiency. It will also enable you to implement a strategy at scale within your business.
That’s where the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) comes in. It’s a system developed by Gino Wickman in his book Traction. I first learned about it years ago and it’s such a powerful idea that I wish I had come across sooner!
The premise is simple enough. EOS helps you master six key areas of your business so it can better achieve its mission.
Here’s a brief summary of each of them.
Everything the company does should stem from its vision. And that vision should be so simple that everyone in your staff can not only understand it but teach it as well.
If everyone you’ve employed can explain the purpose of your company, you’re going to be perfectly aligned.
This seems simple but most companies don’t have a vision that everyone knows.
Having a vision will guide the things your people do. But that’s not enough. You also have to make sure you’ve got the right people in your organization.
A central strategy will help you achieve this, too. Once everyone is moving in the same direction, it’s a lot easier to identify the ones who are holding your company back.
Data is an essential tool for businesses these days. It’s how you keep your finger on the pulse of your company and remove emotion from the decision-making process.
Be careful, though. Not all data is created equal and focusing on too many variables is going to muddy your vision. Instead, identify a handful of key metrics that are essential to your mission and make sure you have easy access to them.
Even with a solid strategy in place, not everything is going to run smoothly. That’s why you need a process for identifying and solving problems.
Be mindful of what isn’t working and hold open discussions to find ways to fix those issues. Don’t silo your problem-solving – make sure that the communication process moves up and down the organization.
Remember how I said it was important to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities? That’s your process. It’s the way your company does business.
Once everything’s in place, you need to build momentum to reach your goal. That means holding leadership meetings, setting 90-day goals, and implementing accountability measures to make sure you reach them.
Simplify to Achieve Success
Now, let me be clear. A simple system isn’t necessarily an easy one. In fact, simplifying your business can be a very tricky process.
That shouldn’t scare you away from doing it. It might take a bit of work to get there, but the reward is a massive spike in growth.
Your business has lots of powerful components. Great leaders. Skilled marketers. Expert salespeople. Innovative product designers. Efficient manufacturing operations.
If you can get all those parts moving in the same direction, you’ll be unstoppable. If you’d like to learn more about the EOS system, you can contact Melanie here.
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