Aligning Your CompanyBy Bill & Chris Sitter
Article Date: 04-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
When properly tuned for maximum results in your market, the dealer's people and mission-in-action together drive successful outcomes.
If your back were out of whack you’d probably seek a good chiropractor who would assess your problem and adjust or align you so you could once again perform at your best. The same need applies to an AED dealer or OEM who feels their company may not have all the parts working in sync.
In boom times almost all companies did “okay” even if their operations were not really finely tuned organizations “hitting on all cylinders.” But in these very challenging times there is simply no room for errors, slack or misalignment. So what can industry leaders do to survive today, while positioning for long-term growth?
Most top performing companies have a mission statement that explains their reasons for existence. Hopefully, the mission is clearly understood by employees as well customers. So we suggest that leaders review their mission messages to be sure they accurately portray what the enterprise seeks to accomplish in 2009 and beyond. This is a time for an objective examination to make sure you are not communicating an out-of-date statement that reflects what your dealership did 30 years ago. This seems pretty basic because it is! But without a clear target, how can a leader focus her/his resources to achieve desired results – particularly in times like these?
Markets may well have changed over time, so a ground-up evaluation of your markets, including special new niche opportunities, should involve the dealership’s leadership team and should draw input from field sales and marketing personnel. Do not be surprised if this leads to the realization that your present product offerings (or at least the models you have stressed in the past) do not align with what your customers now want to rent, lease or purchase.
Organizational charts often go decades without review. Maybe we are too busy to restructure, or we think: “What worked for dad will work for me.” Well, if you’ve led your managers through the review of your real mission and through a comprehensive market analysis, you will most likely find the need to align your org chart to ensure that focus is placed on what you really want to accomplish: your mission and goals, and that your organization structure is in sync with your realistic and profitable market opportunities.
Slotting key people for mission-critical roles – this is our final and perhaps most pivotal alignment. In many cases you have already done this, or it may just have worked out the right way. However, in 30 years of executive search with dealers, rental companies and manufacturers, we have frequently encountered situations where the wrong person (not a bad person) was stuck in a key role they were not qualified for and/or did not even enjoy. In economic crunch times, companies absolutely must assess their talent and align it to fit the new org chart so that the revised mission statement, with its corresponding objectives, becomes reality. Think of your role like the baseball manager who modifies his player line-up based on the competitive environment, and don’t be afraid to make changes that will drive successful outcomes.
Well thought-out job descriptions (at JSA we call them position specifications) play an important role in helping an executive leadership team place qualified impact players in mission-critical positions. Once the mission, the markets and the org structure have been scrutinized and aligned, it is an excellent time to rethink each key job spec. This spec provides leaders with the necessary tool to objectively evaluate all internal and external candidates. If you feel our blank spec form can benefit your company, please call or e-mail us for a free copy of the “position specification and detail” template we use with every JSA client, on every retained executive search we conduct.
Chairman Bennett Closner’s column in this CED issue addresses today’s “Tough Choices” faced by AED dealer executives. We totally agree, and we sincerely hope that all readers will benefit from this refresher on alignment of mission, markets, org structure and people. You may need to hire a key “outsider” with special skills, and/or invest in special training from AED. One thing is for sure: 2009, with all its challenges, presents this industry with opportunities to assess, align, and position ourselves for long-term growth. Let’s all make the most of this opportunity.
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