Regardless of its size, and past successes, there are moments when a business needs a facelift. It could be that the company’s brand is out of step with the times, or that the company has lost touch with its values or purpose, or that the company has underperformed. In his book, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, the great management theorist, Peter Drucker, argued that the purpose of a company is “to create and keep a customer”. Only by doing this can a business earn economic profits for its shareholders. IIf you find your business in a position in which it cannot create and keep customers and therefore earn economic profits, then your business is in urgent need of a facelift. In this article, we will discuss how to give your business a facelift, thereby improving its operating and financial performance.
The first stage to a company-wide facelift is the preparatory stage. In this stage, you want to consult widely, within and without the organization, to determine what has gone wrong and what you can do about it. You want as broad an opinion pool as possible. This is your data gathering phase. Some of the opinions may be unfavourable towards you, your management style and strategic or operational decisions. You want to create an environment in which people feel free to express themselves without threat of recrimination or offending you. Approach the process in a spirit of unconditional positive regard, respecting the people who are speaking with you and taking on faith that they are doing the best that they can.
You will gain a lot from one-on-one discussions, but it is also good to assemble your employees for a meeting. This should be done in conjunction with one-on-one discussions. Give the employees the agenda well before the meeting. Open the discussion to the floor, with a secretary taking down minutes. You want to structure the meeting in a way that makes it efficient while promoting openness. In your agenda, you want to address the concerns and suggestions from the one-on-one discussions, as well as allow the employees to bring to the table any further concerns and suggestions. You should also mount a suggestion box or create a messaging portal that the employees, as well as clients and other stakeholders, can use to share their concerns and suggestions. After the meeting and reviewing the minutes, the suggestion box and messaging portal, you can use this new data to make a decision on the way forward.
Review the Company’s Mission, Objectives and Targets
At this stage you want to go through what your company’s purpose is, what its objectives are and what its targets are. It may be that your company needs to drastically change one, some or all of these. Kodak was once one of the great companies of the world, but today, it is a shadow of itself. Kodak failed not because its technology was out of date -indeed, they gave birth to a lot of technology that would lead to the rise of companies like Microsoft-, rather, they failed because they did not interrogate their purpose, objectives and business model. Sometimes what a business needs is the most dramatic overall of all: changing the company’s purpose. At this stage, you have to be as cold, scientific and brave as possible, detached from what you expect the business to be. Thed and only then, will you be open to all possibilities. Whether your business makes quartz countertops, or manufactures masks, or does something else, you need to be open and honest in order to make the right call.