9 Steps to Business Excellence

If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend Peter Berry’s ‘Nine steps to business excellence’ seminar, you can catch a glimpse of his valuable insight in this report by Emma Shean who was lucky enough to attend the event.

9 Steps to Business Excellence

If you didn’t have the opportunity to attend Peter Berry’s ‘Nine steps to business excellence’ seminar, you can catch a glimpse of his valuable insight in this report by Emma Shean who was lucky enough to attend the event.

Rockend invited Sydney metro clients to a free seminar presented by business speaker Peter Berry. The seminar titled ‘Nine steps to business excellence’ covered key factors on how to run and maintain a successful business, be it large or small. Peter’s clients include Toyota, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, General Electric, Qantas, BHP Billiton, National Australia Bank, McDonalds, NSW Parliament, and Ella Bache. His powerful skill of engaging the audience was experienced by all. So what exactly are Peter’s nine steps to business excellence?

1. Leadership
Ongoing leadership development for the CEO, Executive team and middle management should be a way of life around the four areas of self management, relationship management and working ‘in’ and ‘on’ the business. The most important function of leadership is to create the future – they should be focused on strategy, planning, culture, execution and building a leadership pipeline to secure the future. There should be zero tolerance of non performing managers and staff.

2. Strategy
You need to establish a three to ten year horizon that defines a successful and dynamic end game. The executives need to set stretch goals for performance improvement, usually around revenue, growth, results and industry leadership. They need to ensure that the organisation keeps reinventing itself. They need to strategically capture the growth opportunities, understand the external environment and the internal capabilities.

3. Planning
Planning should be a 12 month calendar of critical events to turn longer term strategy into action. We need less focus on mission and vision and more on goals and milestones. You need to identify external performance goals, internal performance goals and a culture statement to enable performance. A one page executive summary gives the management team a laser focus and an opportunity to engage the workforce. Start with the finishing line and work backwards.

4. Culture
Values that resonate with the workforce are essential and behaviours are critical to make the values a way of life. The behaviours must come from the workforce, not a managerial five star retreat. Once the rules are established, ongoing awareness, rewards and punishment are essential. Any ‘sacred cows’ need to be identified and challenged and people with attitude or performance problems need to be improved or removed… no passengers!

5. People
Selection, engagement and retention are key issues. You need to hire hard, manage easy and look for personality. Being strategic with pay, training and communications is critical in achieving alignment of people with strategy. Making people feel valued and engaging the workforce for high performance creates competitive advantage. Teamwork between departments and a focus on internal customers is essential in eliminating silos. Discretionary effort is key to outperforming the competition.

6. Customers
You need to think ‘customer’, not ‘product’ and create a culture that’s driven by the voice of the customer. Priorities around price, value, quality, timeliness, availability, service and relationships need to be determined as do strategies for customer acquisition, satisfaction and retention. Customer-centric strategies to build loyalty, repeat business and multiple touch points can be important. ‘Customers for life’ thinking should drive the relationship.

7. Processes
The philosophy is ‘get it right first time, every time!’ You need to identify waste, rework non-value-adding activity and prioritise the quality initiatives. Efficiency measures around productivity, quality, cycle time, on time delivery, cost reductions and supplier performance are important. Making innovation a way of life can also be critical. Innovation can be key to market success by inventing new markets.

8. Measurement
Creating an accurate, timely and user friendly measurement culture, embracing a balanced scorecard matrix around financial, customer, process and people issues is useful. Knowledge management as the key to customer relationship management can be important. KPIs should exist for all work areas to encourage performance, self esteem and pride. ‘Personal bests’ for work teams should be explored.

9. Execution
This involves the rigor of having an annual planning calendar with synergy and linkages between key activities and the discipline of follow-through. The business plan needs to be launched effectively to create energy and buy in. The management accountabilities, reviews and rewards need to be clear. Managers need to be assessed for their results and their behaviour. The CEO should do regular state of the nation reviews with staff to create business conversations and engagement.

As part of Peter’s presentation, the participants were allocated time to complete a one page business plan for their business.

Some of the tips that Peter shared for the plan were :

  • Have an overall statement to open the business plan, and remember that less is more eg. Honda uses “70,000 units, capture seven per cent market share by 2012”. It is simple, to the point, and most importantly, staff will remember this. As Peter states, “A memorable one liner really helps to bring planning, purpose and passion together.”
  • Have a business plan that is visible to everyone in the business. Make sure the plan is easy to read, and appealing to staff in the business.
  • Try the balanced scorecard approach to creating the plan – think of the key areas that you want the business to focus on, break them into headings and write the plan using these headings. Australia Post Retail use the headings; customers, people, processes and business performance.
  • Launch the business plan so it creates excitement and passion within the business. Have a company breakfast or dinner where this could take place. Companies also use different tools to deliver their business plans to staff. Some print it on mouse pads, key rings, magnets, hats or pocket handouts.

A rare opportunity
Many felt that this rare opportunity to work on their business away from their business was invaluable, and many walked away from the seminar with a laser focus and a plan to engage their team with. Rockend is excited to see the positive results that have emerged from this session, and look forward to many more seminars to help clients achieve business excellence.

Emma Sheanis the Marketing and events Coordinator for Rockend, the leaders in property software. Their products consist of REST Professional (property management), STRATA Master (strata management) and fileSMART (electronic document management).

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