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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

How Strategic Growth and Reality Mix in Business

Strategic growth is something that few companies think about.


Because often they start and the owner is too busy chasing the sale to think such high-minded idealism.

You can almost hear the owner say, "Reality is the key, lets get the money into our bank account. Forget strategy just get it done ."

As a company grows it starts to try different ways to improve business. The CEO Refresher site has an interesting take on this aspect of business growth.

When it comes down to it many businesses really are working in a reactive mode. Every so often they poke their heads up and try a new technique or fad that other companies are apparently getting success with.

Customer relationship management, or CRM, is one I'm particularly familiar with. It's aim is to get the whole company approaching the customer in a joined up way. So that every part of the organisation knows what's been said and how they should treat each customer.

Yet like any other computer system the danger here is that you solidify bad practise into a computer system. The bad customer manual and computer systems currently in place are instituonalised. That means that if people use the system as specified the customer loses out.

If they don't use the system as specified the system falls into disrepute and loses its purpose.

What it boils down to is what Michael Gerber calls "working on the business" rather than working inside the business as a worker drone. By working in the business you need to step back and check that what you're currently doing is the best of all possible ways for you, and your customer.

You also need a system in place to check whether your policies, procedures and practises need adjusting as customers, employees, laws and society change.

Dr Deming is probably one of the most important quality and business gurus the industrial nations have been priviledged to have. His approach is such that he provided companies with the "Deming 14 points".

These points are what helped the Japanese rise to the major industrial nation they are now.

Look at them and see how you can apply them in your own business. If you'd like to read up about Deming's application in the real world read some of Mary Walton's books on Deming and his points

Be warned though applying Demings principles means that you'll have less knee-jerk reaction to circumstances. Which has to be a good thing. Doesn't it?

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