If you’re a true entrepreneur, you have a vision and you are determined to realize that vision. You are positive, or at least you are optimistic about your chances. You’ve had to struggle through many hard times. You’ve emerged victorious many times when things seemed hopeless. These victories have bolstered your confidence and seemingly confirmed your suspicions about your destiny. But now you are at a crossroads. You are starting to notice one of three things, or all three: you are not getting the same level of success as you’ve experienced in the past; you are not reaching the level of organizational flow that you imagined you would; and/or your business is in decline. Yes, you are unique. Yes, you take more initiative and you have more grit and more fearlessness than most of your fellow human beings, but be clear, while only 20% of businesses fail during the first 2 years of business, 65% of businesses fail during the first 10 years and only 25% make it to 15 years. So, if you want to build a great business or a business that you can eventually sell, sheer force of will is not enough.
What will you need instead? In a word – Process. You need to establish, document, and continuously improve upon the process. But to make process work here is what it will take or some of the reasons why you’ve stood in your own way:
“…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” You must fight your skepticism and trust that the process will work. We have learned from experience that we must work with clients that are prepared to let go and accept that the guidance for which they hired us or the engagement will not be successful. Too often clients still want to rely on what has worked for them in the past and what has worked? Hard work, long hours, urgency, determination. Entrepreneurs are action oriented, which is good, but they confound the concept of readiness to work and working long with hard work. The truth is some of the hardest things to do is to sit and think and plan. This is to be distinguished from analysis paralysis or not deciding to take action – rather it is taking the time to sit and think once decision has been made. So the first step is to give credence and have faith in the need to establish a process.
This is about not going back and forth on the idea of establishing a process or components of the process. Too often even during the process of establishing a process entrepreneurs begin to question the work that must be done. People complain about the inconveniences associated with the additional work of documentation or of steps in the process intended to ensure quality or avoid re-work and they start making exceptions either for themselves or their employees. Lack of conformance by leadership or making exceptions either expressly or tacitly is a sure way to ensure that a process improvement plan is sabotaged.
Part of the reason entrepreneurs are action oriented is lack of patience. They tend to throw things at the wall and see what sticks. If anything isn’t working fast enough, they will change course giving their entire organization whiplash and a sense of instability. In order for process improvement to work, you must understand that establishing new habit take about 90 days and seeing the results of hose new habits, depending on what the change process is, may take even longer. Have patience, know that at the very least, when your new process is established and becomes corporate habit your company will be better for it.
This is about change management, which is really about when, how, how much communication (and training) is needed before, during, and after a new process is put in place. It is about taking the time to get buy-in from leadership and from process users. It is about making business cases to acquire support, it is about including influential and/or knowledgeable personnel from all the impacted areas of the new process to ensure everyone feels heard and feel a sense of ownership in the new process.
If you believe that you can benefit from improved processes. MBA Growth Partners has developed the Evolve methodology, which helps transform your company’s DNA so that you emerge as the company that is capable of achieving your vision.