Is Your Business Strategy Focused on the Wrong Things?
Could your business strategy be your problem? If yours is not focused on one specific thing, you could be headed in the wrong direction. Every business strategy should have one focus: People.
Without people, no business would have a chance to exist, much less survive and thrive.
Our customers are people, our employees are people and our leaders are people.
Let me share with you a few examples of great leaders, great businesses and great strategies that we can all learn from and integrate into our own personal business strategy.
Jack Welch, a previous CEO of General Electric, gives us an example of a great leader with a very successful business strategy. One of the things Welch is known for is his strategy to be either #1 or #2 in every market in which GE did business. In fact, he sold off entire business units which couldn't be the best in their particular markets. We should always strive to be our best. Though that may seem obvious, think on the following idea. If we're spending time on things at which we aren't the best, and can never be the best, we're NOT spending time in areas we CAN be the best. If we're not focused on being the best at a certain task, we should delegate the duty someone who is the best. Don't dilute your potential.
According to Business Exchange, a division of BusinessWeek, “A good business strategy defines the direction and scope of an organization over the long-term, and will advance the company’s resources and meet market needs.” I believe that Walter Bruckart, a previous vice president of Circuit City, conveyed their business strategy best in a response to an interview question for Good to Great.
When Bruckart was asked to name the top five factors that led Circuit City to excellence, Bruckart responded,
One would be people. Two would be people. Three would be people. Four would be people. And five would be people. A huge part of our transition can be attributed to our discipline in picking the right people.”
Though Circuit City ultimately lost ground to Best Buy, when Bruckart, with his focus on people, was running the company, it was the #2 consumer electronics retailer in the United States. When Circuit City took its focus off of people in 2007, it began its decline to bankruptcy.
CEO of Circuit City from 1972-1986, Alan Wurtzel has documented the journey of the company in Good to Great to Gone: The 60 Year Rise and Fall of Circuit City, which is scheduled for publication on October 9th, 2012. Your business strategy should focus on people; anything less and I believe you've missed the mark.
Lastly, another company that is featured in Good to Great, Wells Fargo, had a similar business strategy to that of Circuit City during its golden era. Wells Fargo's executives believed that with the right people, they could go anywhere and do anything.
So as you start off your day, begin your week or look to take your career and leadership to the next level, reflect on your personal business strategy. If you lead a company, make people the focus of your corporate business strategy. Identify your eighty percent, train or trade the bottom ten percent, and empower your people.