Many owners and managers achieve stability and focus in their businesses by establishing set work patterns and rigid procedures. While this approach might help to achieve a degree of consistency, there is also a danger that it will conceal recurring errors and oversights. Sometimes predictable routines can stifle innovation and prevent you from identifying unrealised profit opportunities.
Bill Marriott of Marriott International saw a fine line between consistency and complacency, and so he developed a twelve-point programme to help business owners and managers stay on their toes:
- Continually challenge your team to do better. No matter how successful they are, a winning team will always be able to find room for improvement.
- Take good care of your employees and they will take good care of your customers.That way your customers will keep coming back.
- Celebrate your people’s success, not your own. Drawing attention to your own successes evokes only cynicism in others, whereas acknowledgement and praise of others’ successes evokes a wish to do even better.
- Know what you are good at and mind those competencies for all you are worth. Also know your weaknesses and engage others with complementary skills to work alongside you.
- Do it and do it now. Err on the side of action. Many a good profit improvement idea dies at the hands of prevarication.
- Communicate. Listen to your customers, associates, and competitors. We each have two ears and one mouth, and should use them in the same proportion.
- See and be seen. Get out of your office, walk around, make yourself visible and accessible. You are far more likely to spot potential problems and pick up fresh ideas if you walk the boards on a regular basis.
- Success is in the details. The art of successful management is being able to pay attention to detail without losing the big picture.
- It is more important to hire people with the right qualities than with specific experience. Experience is rarely replicable, but portable skills can be applied to any situation.
- Customer needs vary, but their preference for quality never does. If you always strive to exceed your customers expectations, they will keep coming back for more.
- Eliminate the cause of a mistake. Don’t just clean it up. Errors have a habit of repeating themselves if you don’t eliminate their causes.
- View every problem as an opportunity to grow. This is essential for a forward-thinking business.