Using Bottlenecks to Accelerate Your Business Growth.
Every Bottleneck presents an opportunity for growth.
The issue is, that many business owners go forward with business as usual without realizing there is a bottleneck in their business flow, or they suspect things could be better, but don’t know how to diagnose the root issues to be able to break through bottlenecks and actually utilize them for accelerated growth.
From our combined 45+ years in consulting every kind of conceivable business, we have discovered that every single bottleneck presents with several solutions that, once applied, will accelerate business growth and will present opportunities that business owners were never previously aware of.
Of course, not every business owner is ready to implement the changes necessary from these discoveries, and that is fine with us, after all, every business owner has to take responsibility for their own business performance and life decisions, but at least every business we have worked with has been made aware of the unique potential we uncover for them through our performance audits.
One of the regular recommendations we help implement are quarterly key initiatives and simple means to measure your progress toward them. Without quarterly initiatives, there are no short term benchmarks to help you measure your actual progress, and your business creates its own demands which require more profit-draining resources than you would otherwise experience with a well established strategy.
In addition, we recommend an annual audit of your business performance using our Market Beating Strategy ™ process
Those who have been through our Market Beating Strategy ™ process have had great feedback and have experienced breakthroughs in areas where they were previously capped in performance for 3 to 10 years or more.
The bottom line is, what you don’t know, you can’t fix. And most business owners who are successful have to have a bottom-line outlook on their business performance, or else their business is not tracking like it could.
Not every bottleneck is actually able to be remedied and the causes are usually found in 1 of 3 places.
1- Lack of Willingness of the company principals or owners.
2- Lack of Resources – funds or human resources to implement a breakthrough solution
3- Lack of Innovation – doing things the same old way vs. making innovation a part of your weekly process.
The good news is that breakthrough success starts with the principal(s) / owners of the company taking full ownership of the challenges and problems. Many business owners and C-Suite Executives have a fear of being exposed for not knowing what to do in any given situation, so they either deflect, procrastinate, or deny the real need for change and continue doing the same old things hoping the real problems will correct themselves.
The problem is, they seldom, if ever, correct themselves and in most cases, they get worse if not addressed and remedied.
However, when Principals take full ownership of the problems and decide to do something different about it, we have seen that almost any bottleneck can be remedied, bringing new flow, fresh innovative ideas, success, morale and freedom within your business..
So, the bottom line is, the owner is responsible- whether it’s your fault or not.
To recap, every bottleneck is caused by only a few things…
And, most often, it is caused by continuing to do things the same old way.
-Strategy / Know how
-Manpower to fulfill
-Innovation & Honesty
-Ability to Adjust and Maneuver or Evolve
The key is to make innovation a part of your team’s everyday work world. In order to do that, sometimes there needs to be a shift in the culture of your company. That shift has to involve allowing every idea, every process, every strategy that is “status quo” to be challenged on a regular basis, without any room for egos.
Egos can be the most expensive defenders of bottlenecks in the entire company, and at times, can be the actual bottleneck itself!
We have created a not-so-common sense formula for addressing bottlenecks, called “BREAKTRHU” and you can follow the process below.
B -Bottleneck – Identify the Bottleneck and root causes
R -Reality – Get Real with the actual issues and own up to all the root causes
E -Evaluate the causes and choose a solution – Brainstorm with team innovation – all ideas are fair game
A -Activate the solution by taking strategic action – (use our simple W3 process)
K -Keep track of all activity and results –
T -Trust the people and the process (track but don’t micro-manage)
H -Hire outside expertise if needed to fill talent, strategy or innovation GAP
R -Re-Evaluate at regular intervals – 30- 60 – 90 days
U – Urgency, maintain a sense of urgency about this issue until you experience the breakthrough needed
Breaking this strategy into 3 triads, you have BRE – AKT – HRU
The first phase starts with Bottleneck, Reality, Evaluate (BRE):
Your first goal as a team is to go after the discovery of the bottleneck’s root causes, not the symptoms. Symptoms of a root bottleneck cause will always have your business expending unnecessary time, energy and resources putting out fires and dealing with bad fruit caused by bad roots. To get to real breakthrough, you have to be willing to uncover every leaf and overturn every rock in your business. Everything has to come into the spotlight, starting with the very top, the business owner(s) or principals.
Your team has to be willing to deal with reality, not hypotheticals or “what ifs”. You have to start with 2 columns of ideas. What is happening that is potentially contributing to the bottleneck and what is not happening that needs to happen, or what has been neglected or ignored. Once your team is committed to going after the bottleneck in the realm of “reality”, you will have the best chance at breaking free from the bottleneck and experiencing new opportunities and positive growth. If your team is not committed to 100% disclosure and honesty from the top-down, then the rest of the process is a waste of time, and at best, you will only be putting band-aids on a much deeper issue that needs to be remedied.
Your team has to be able to have the freedom to evaluate every possible cause and solution with ideas outside the realm of your normal history of procedures. What got you to this point will most likely not work to get your business unstuck. This is where the invitation of innovation must come from every person and department, and where the most brutally honest feedback and innovative ideas are permitted, without the fear of retribution or shame being returned to the individuals or departments. The blame game has to be 100% dismantled so that truth can rise to the surface and your team can begin the process of creative innovation to give every conceivable creative idea a chance on the table of discussion. In fact, this first phase is the best place to bring in an outside, impartial consultant or coach to “referee” and oversee the process, someone with experience at working through difficult issues with businesses and teams. That is where Visible Progress can help. Schedule your free discovery call here today and don’t procrastinate: https://visible-progress.com/for-business-owners
The second triad, or phase 2 is Activate, Keep Track, and Trust (AKT)
In this step, you activate the best ideas that your team developed in step 3. This is when it’s advisable to make sure you are activating a strategy that you have never used before. There can be some familiar items in this activation strategy, but there must be some innovation involved or else you may be trying to solve a new challenge with old, stale methods. Put it to action in the “Activate” phase. Understand, also, that this Phase is to be viewed as an experiment, where you are testing new ideas in a laboratory type environment and mindset with the idea that you are looking to test ideas in real-time to see what actually works. Theory is no good here, only practical action with real feedback mechanisms.
5- Keeping Track
Tracking and feedback measures are a critical part of the Activation phase. Having real quantifiable data is the key, and tracking the right Key Initiatives are key. Try to keep your key initiatives to a small, manageable number somewhere in the range of 3 to 5 benchmarks. You may end up with more data, but remember Pareto’s Principle, that 20% of the activity is usually responsible for 80% of the results. Major in the majors when looking at the feedback and statistical measures and don’t get caught up in the nickel-and-dime mentality of the process. This is where our W3 ™ process really comes in handy. It is a simple, 1 page chart of accountability that simply accounts for Who will do What by When = hence, W3.
Once you initiate the process, trust it… i.e. let it run its course without overstepping boundaries or micro-managing. If you are true to the process and the tracking, the results will be very objective and you will see both places of potential and obstruction within your team’s operations. And remember, every revelation that comes from the honest feedback and measures of this process will reveal places where innovation and change are needed.
The third Triad of the BREAKTHRU ™ process is Hire, Re-Evaluate, Urgency (HRU)
Outside help is often a must. This should always be an option regardless of whether this outside help is short-term, or becomes a long-term partnership for sustained growth. The outside help you should have employed at the beginning is a 3rd party coach or consultancy to help your entire team maintain objectivity so that old patterns of dysfunction are addressed and not allowed to remain in hiding. Hiring outside help in this phase usually comes as an innovation that was introduced in the first triad was tested in the second triad and was found to bring some valid needs in terms of having a new well of talent and innovation to draw from.
Throughout the implementation, continue to actively re-evaluate. Set benchmarks every 30-60-90 days and have 3 to 5 quarterly Key Initiatives that will measure and speak honestly to your efforts. Remember, you are looking for honest, Visible Progress. Without weekly action statements, monthly evaluations, and quarterly benchmarks, you will have no idea what is actually effective.
9 – Urgency (and Unity)
Urgency is the final key, while building team Unity. Both urgency, making the removal of all bottlenecks your main objective, while building team unity, morale and honoring the importance of every individual on your team is imperative. Most bottlenecks have a significant element of misunderstanding and communication barriers, i.e. dysfunctional team dynamics that often create, fuel and protect the bottleneck. Human behavior and team dysfunction is a multi-billion dollar business in the US Economy. Recognizing this and creating a company culture that empowers every individual to communicate honestly and freely without fear of retribution is absolutely critical in creating / sustaining a business that thrives. Make every effort to honor, develop and value your human “capital” among all other assets.
This strategy process for breaking through bottlenecks begins in the “diagnose” phase of the 7-step “Market Beating Strategy” ™, a system we have used to help countless businesses rise above their competition to become the market leader in their industry. To learn more about the 7 steps, go here:
The next thing you need to do in order to discover the roots of your business bottlenecks so you can break through to higher productivity, profitability and effectiveness is to schedule your free strategy session with us below.
If all this is a bit overwhelming, then let us be your guide. Using a guide to navigate uncharted territory is one of the smartest steps you can take to improve your success.
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