18/09/09

By Guy Norgrove

Previously we explored the area of EMPOWERMENT. In brief, the “don’t hire a dog and bark yourself” guide.

Now we will explore some of the barriers to success. Building a successful business is a bit like that old nursery trick of trying to rub your stomach in a circular motion whilst simultaneously patting yourself on the top of your head. It IS difficult. But then if it was easy everyone would be successful. Clearly this is not the case. What differentiates the run-of-the-mill from the extraordinary enterprise is the seemingly effortless ability to advance simultaneously on several fronts, whilst maintaining core business stability.

For example, there are many examples of successful companies who started out with a single product/service dream and have simply stuck to their knitting. The sales remain largely constant, their costs are predictable. Someone is making a reasonable living from this business. The vulnerability here is what used be the strength of the offering at the start: the single focus. If the offering loses its USP or just goes out of fashion, or the customers evaporate, what used to be a decent living becomes a struggle for survival, because there is no where else to look for revenue. There is only one string to this bow.

Going back to the more extraordinary business advancing on many fronts simultaneously; how do they do it? Firstly they probably started off on the same track as my first example with a single product/service dream. They probably achieved a level of predictability from the business. They too were making a decent living from their efforts, but this is where the path of the extraordinary enterprise diverges from the run of the mill.

In building the core business, the main focus in recruiting was on the ability of the ones hired to accept EMPOWERMENT: to understand a brief and work without supervision. To buy into a clear vision of the future set out by the CEO: to have the opportunity to earn well as long as targets are met. Once this state of grace has been achieved, predictability and manageability, the good CEO can delegate the execution of the core business in confidence to the good people he hired at the outset. His involvement thenceforward could be restricted to monitoring the Key Performance Indicators, only stepping in when needed.

So how much time does the extraordinary CEO now spend on THE NOW and how much does he have at his disposal to focus on reeling in the future?

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