In order for all employees to contribute to their maximum ability, the direction of the company must be clearly defined, communicated, and accepted by all.
Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, described a useful concept to make sure the organization stays focused on what is important. In this concept key employees are assembled and asked to brainstorm, discuss, and reach agreement on three questions.
The facilitator starts the event by drawing a circle on a flip chart or white board with “What are you passionate about?” written in the middle. The group then brainstorms their thoughts about what they are passionate about in their work and in the organization. The facilitator records these thoughts around the perimeter of the circle. When the ideas are exhausted, the facilitator leads the group to summarize their thoughts into one succinct phrase and records it in the middle of t he circle. It is important that discussion is continued until true consensus is reached. The final version should not be dictated nor should it be a meaningless compromise.
This activity is repeated with the question, “What can you be the best in the world at?” in the center of a new circle. Here it is necessary to define what is your world; what is the world in which you compete. It can be defined in terms of geography, market, application, etc.; in other words your niche. This is important because usually there is only room for two companies to make money and one to eke by in any market so one must focus on being number one in your niche. Not to be overlooked is that with continuing improvement and innovation in transportation and communication, geographical niche boundaries are constantly expanding.
The activity is repeated for the third time with the question, “What drives your economic engine, or where do you make money that supports the organization”. Some people are uncomfortable talking about making money as a factor in determining the direction of the business but its importance is a fact of life! Obviously if you don’t make money, you won’t be in business long.
The facilitator now leads the discussion of what direction of the company satisfies all three questions. If the employees are passionate about the direction of the company, they can be the best in their niche at it, and they make money from it, success is on the horizon.