Forge A Business Ecosystem

The days of the self-sufficient and self-sustaining business are long gone. Business owners must recognize the need to join forces with other businesses in order to flourish.

Here is simple assumption for you to get your head around: Businesses will always seek to establish new types of partner relationships that clearly define mutual gain for the parties involved. Fairly straight-forward, right?

Of course it is! And, it’s because of this hypothesis that businesses of all sorts and sizes are forging new commercial arrangements with one another. As a result, immense networks of interdependent parties have emerged. In turn, each one of these forms unique ecosystems from which all of the member businesses benefit.

With the continual advancement of technology making inter-business bonding easier, you can be sure that the evolution of these New Economy Ecosystems will continue. That said, as a business owner you’ll need to see how and where you can fit. Here’s why:

Rationale for Ecosystem-Building

The game has changed. The days of the self-sufficient and self-sustaining businesses are long gone. The global marketplace requires businesses to establish highly integrated and cooperative relationships with one another. It rewards speed and flexibility.

Consequently, new inter-company relationships continue to be established in order to help firms respond to changes in their respective markets.

Businesses cannot afford to be an exception. Ecosystems seek to forge new types of relationships with their members that provide economies of scale and greater reach than can be achieved by any single entity on its own. Indeed, joining and contributing to larger ecosystems is essential to survival – especially for smaller businesses.

However, there are several implications that must be considered, including:

1. New strategies will need to be created that can leverage the opportunities that ecosystem participation offers.

2. Similarly, innovation will be a key driver for flourishing within one’s ecosystem. Thus, new ways of thinking and doing will need to be considered and implemented as opportunities to introduce new products and services emerge faster than ever before.

3. As a result, speed counts! Therefore, steps will need to be continually taken within every business to become more agile in order to keep up with the demands of ecosystem partners and their customers.

4. Businesses will have to work with a larger industry community, including competitors, in order to establish new kinds of business arrangements that work within the ecosystem. Exposure of one’s competitive strategies and protection of associated trade secrets will continue to be huge considerations when seeking advantages from ecosystem membership.

5. Existing contracts and agreements may need to be embellished and new rules created, in order to better support the re-definition of attendant business relationships.

6. Lower-level business managers must be on the “look-out” and be prepared to explore new ways of defining their firm’s relationships with the providers that they work with – continuing to be keenly aware of new opportunities to leverage existing partner relationships in novel ways to drive advantage.

7. Front-line staff will need to be trained in contract administration in order to better manage the business relationships that they are responsible for maintaining on behalf of their companies

There is no doubt that, as the new economy continues to evolve, it is imperative for business leaders, regardless of size, to actively seek-out opportunities to participate in broadening their reach and capabilities through participation in business ecosystems. They must recognize the need to join forces in a larger community of players to remain vital and prosperous in the years ahead.

To close, this article only touches the tip of the iceberg regarding business ecosystems. So, please feel free to continue to drive the discussion by offering your ideas and comments below or reach-out directly to me. It’s an important topic that deserves more attention.

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Human Operating System?

These 6 business sub-systems must be fully aligned and integrated to enable flawless execution.

I bet if I asked you what your company is all about you’d give me that same ol’ rehearsed elevator pitch. You’d be able to tell me what it does and why it’s important. But, if I asked you how. You just might stall. The answers on “how” a business does what it does lies in its unique combination of systems that governs how it executes its mission.

I like to call this collection of systems the organization’s “Human Operating System.”

Your firm’s Human Operating System is, of course, informed by your vision, enabled by your strategic plans and is translated into company culture. Here are the key parts of every Human Operating System:

1. Work Design Systems – These systems define how your business is organized. It determines your reporting lines, you workflow and the nature of your production and service delivery processes. These systems must be optimized and aligned to achieve your vision.

2. Communication Systems – These systems include, both, the formal and informal ways in which your business communicates within and without. Time must be spent to design these systems in a deliberate fashion. You want to achieve transparency and to field the necessary tools that make open, honest and ease of communication as simple and straight-forward, as possible.

3. Decision-making Systems – Decision-making support systems take many forms and provide many functions. They can be underpinned by “Big Data” and sophisticated analytics engines which crunch data and present it in meaningful ways. These systems also include the style in which decision-making is done by a firm, including such “soft” subjects as collaboration tendencies, empowerment levels and problem escalation principles. Care must be taken in the design and implementation of these systems because you want to ensure synchronicity with other desired company culture objectives.

4. Change Management Systems – These systems include all of the processes and procedures used to set direction and manage change. How well your people handle the natural evolution of your business environment is dictated by the change management systems that you put into place. These systems should be carefully developed to enable the “preparedness” of your organization.

5. Talent Management Systems – These systems entail the acquisition, retention and development of your human capital. Also included in these systems are training, career path design, job classifications and skills prerequisites. These systems must be fully integrated into your strategic thinking to ensure that the organization is hiring and developing for the future and not just filling its current open positions.

6. Measurement and Reward Systems – These systems must be tied to the work design systems so that measurements are done as work is performed and not counted and tallied after the fact. Additionally, rewards systems must be based on the achievement of desired outcomes, at both, company and individual levels, and not on effort or tenure.

To close, what does your organization’s Human Operating System look like? Is it fully aligned with your vision story and does it enable the execution of your strategies? If so, count yourself lucky – few businesses can claim full alignment and integration of the critical systems that comprise its Human Operating System. If not, keep the faith, there’s plenty of help available to assist you in re-imagining how to make them work in unison and achieve your greatest business goals and objectives. Don’t be afraid to reach out for what you need.

This article was published by Inc. on 5 December 2016.

C-Suite Tip Number 1 – Focus on Middle Management Leadership

Engage your middle management to secure your strategic success.

We all know about the pyramid structure. It’s a generic way to think about an enterprise and how most are organizationally design. Divided into three layers, the top layer of the pyramid is comprised of the senior-most leaders. These are the people responsible for setting strategic direction and guiding the enterprise towards its future. While certainly concerned with quarterly performance, the leaders at the top of the pyramid must also have a forward-thinking, “Where will we be in 5 years?” kind of mindset.

The middle layer of the pyramid is comprised of the middle management of the organization. These people must be able to interpret the strategic direction set forth by the senior leaders and translate it into actions that the units that report into them can understand and act upon. While these managers certainly care about strategy, their primary focus is this year. Can we do what we need to day this year to reach our goals and objectives?

The lower layer of the pyramid is comprised of supervisors and rank and file. This layer is responsible for execution. Their time frame is much different from the managers and senior leaders. Their point of reference is today. Can we do the work that must be done today, on-time and on-budget? And, they inherently understand, that they will suffer the consequences of poor performance, if they don’t.

So, when it comes time to roll-out your next key strategy, where do you begin? In the middle, of course!

The middle management team makes or breaks strategic execution! As mentioned, they’re the ones that must interpret the strategies and translate them into something that is actionable by the rank and file. If they fail to do this well, the organization falters, resources are squandered and, unfortunately, many times heads roll.

Here are 3 essential tips to get them on-board (and, by doing so, improve your chances for success in the launching your firm’s next strategic initiative):

  • Tell and Teach: Think about it, you’re asking your mid-tier managers to act as teachers. And, to teach well, they must first understand. So, commit to establishing the understanding that they’ll need to help the rest of your organization grasp and commit to your vision and strategic plan. Do all that you can to help them comprehend all of the content and nuances of those strategic elements so that they can do a bang up job of translating them for your people.
  • Jump-Start The Messaging: Don’t leave it up to your middle management to determine how they will go about the work of interpretation and translation for their teams. Instead, take the time to think about all of the implications and likely actions that you would want them and their people to tackle in helping the organization execute its strategies. Craft a template for them to use to deliver the message.
  • Orchestrate The Cascading: Once you equip your managers with the requisite know knowledge and messaging content they can begin to cascade the message throughout the rest of the organization. However, they may not do this in an disciplined and rigorous way. So, be sure to orchestrate cascading of the information by establishing a roll-out schedule that details when the managers will will do the work of strategic messaging.

After all, you want to make certain that all of your organization understands the company vision, strategies and, most importantly, their roles in the subsequent execution and achievement of your goals and objectives. If you can do this, you will have done your job.

To close, senior leaders need to focus on the middle of their organizations in order to achieve their strategic intentions. If you can engage the middle management, they will do the rest. If you don’t, your strategic execution will fall flat. It’s really as simple as that!

Note: If you like this article, which was published by Inc.com on October 31, 2016, please subscribe to my Inc. column.

What We’ve Got Here Is a Failure to Communicate: How to Create a Solid Communications Strategy

With all of the communication tools and technologies available today, why do so many businesses still have a communications problem? Here’s a simple 7 step process for building a solid communications program.

Many firms suffer from poor communications. It’s my theory is that too few firms have the necessary communications program in place to do it well. Take the following steps to develop an effective communications program plan:

1. Delineate your objectives – Determine what you expect to gain from your communications program. Objectives could range from enhancing service delivery and improving staff loyalty to gaining a bigger marketplace influence or upgrading relations with the media and regulatory entities.

2. Baseline your current communication practices – Once you know your objectives, perform a communications audit and evaluate how your business communicates. This characterization should involve: brainstorming with staff, interviewing senior leaders and surveying customers, suppliers and distributors with the sole purpose of discovering how, when, why and where your people communicate and message for, and about, your business.

3. Determine your key audiences – List all the audiences that the firm might want to contact, attempt to influence, or serve. At a minimum, these will likely include customers, staff, industry groups, business partners, and the media.

4. Translate these audience sectors into specific projects and programs aimed at delivering information is the best ways possible to each group – You’ll need to consider your baseline results (as determined earlier) and map that against available human and financial resources, of course. But, by crafting initiatives for each group, you’ll be much better positioned to achieve your Communication Program’s objectives.

5. Establish a timeline for execution – With the initiatives (which comprise your Communications Program) identified, it’s time to craft a calendar grid that outlines when each effort will begin and be accomplished. Group the projects and programs into 18 month intervals (what I like to call “Implementation Plateaus”). This enables your organization to better understand what will be done when to improve its communications infrastructure.

6. Estimate costs at an implementation plateau-level – By “chunking” the work effort into 18 month intervals and giving an estimate of that total investment, you can shift dollars as needed among the initiatives that make up a given implementation plateau. This provides some wiggle room for your organization as it evolves its communications strategies over time.

7. Begin to execute and evaluate – Shape a method for measuring results into each project / program plan that you launch. Be sure to track project / program progress on a monthly basis and report it back to your senior management sponsors as you evolve each effort.

To close, a solid Communications Program plan requires about is 60-90 days to complete. Once in place, though, with the proper level of executive commitment and maintenance you will a communications asset that can be kept in sync with your organizational advancement for years to come. To learn more, just reach out to me and we can discuss it directly.

Note: This piece was originally published by Inc on October 31, 2016. If you like this article, please subscribe to my column and you’ll never miss another thought piece!

 

All About Culture By Design

Company culture is a strategic imperative that must be created and transformed by design, not by default.

This is the first installment of an important 3-part series on company culture that I will be bringing to my Inc. readers. The series focuses on how to become more deliberate in creating a work environment that enables and empowers your organization to achieve and exceed all your expectations. I call the concept that I’m going to share with you: culture by design.

To begin, it’s essential to note that corporate culture determines the preferred way of execution and achievement within an organization. Every organization has a corporate culture. Sadly, many cultures evolve by default, not by design. Consequently, the impact can be characterized by all kinds of strategic misalignment and manifest in the marketplace as witnessed through declining product or service quality, unimpressive customer support and less than stellar financial results.

Despite the fact that most organizations can benefit from a cultural overhaul, there are many circumstances in which a senior leadership team should strongly consider re-imagining its de facto corporate culture and aim to create a culture by design, including:

  • Immersion in senior leadership changes
  • Pivoting in a new strategic direction
  • Following significant M&A activities
  • Responding to a marketplace disruption
  • Managing through the entry to new markets
  • Responding to a damage control situation
  • Post spin-off
  • When going global

If your organization is currently involved in any of these situations, then you may want to seek out the assistance of firms, like mine, that can bring you a leading-edge methodology that will enable you to develop a culture by design.

More on culture by design methods and practices in next week’s article. For now, let it suffice to say that each culture by design work product, of which there are many, needs to be informed by a company’s current state to better define a clear path to the culture that its leaders imagine for a firm’s fervent success. After all, the road map to the future has to start wherever you are!

To close, there is no doubt that company culture is influenced by the preferences and leadership style of the senior management team. But, it is passed down from generation to generation of worker through myth and legend — much like a country’s culture emerges through the stories that its people tell themselves. So, to change it, culture must be transformed deliberately — in essence, it becomes an effort of culture by design. Check back next week for a look at the work products that underpin most culture by design efforts.

If you like this article, please subscribe to my column and you’ll never miss another one!

NOTE:  This article first appeared in INC. on September 19, 2016.

Next Practices: How to Get to What Happens Next

Every organization flaunts their Best Practices. But, outstanding Companies define Next Practices – those things that set them apart in the short-term and define the standard of excellence for the long-term.

All of my strategy, culture and organizational design work over the years comes down to one thing – enabling my clients to differentiate themselves from their competitors so to dominate the markets that they serve. Consequently, the topic of industry best practices always comes up. Most leaders want to be sure that their organizations are remaining competitive within their industry. While the desire appears sound in principle, it’s flawed by design.

The fact is the adoption of industry best practices will only let you run with the pack. But, defining and adopting Next Practices will enable the breakthrough thinking needed to disrupt and redefine your markets. My firm has developed a framework for doing this. Let’s take a look at the 5 principles that makes up the framework needed to define your Next Practices.

1. Drop the de-facto culture and develop a Culture By Design: Don’t copy; create. Culture is a strategic imperative that must be created and transformed by design not by default. Be deliberate in creating a work environment that enables and empowers your team to achieve and exceed your firm’s vision.

2. Embrace your difference and focus more on offense than defense: Think opportunity management, not risk management. Think strategic investment, not cost containment. Know what you do better than the rest and use those leverage points to redefine the game.

3. Invigorate velocity by working past implementation concepts and focus on delivery strategies: Implementation is process, delivery is advantage. Establish a business mindset that believes in agility, velocity, and high impact delivery – impeccable product and service delivery has the power to differentiate your firm from all the rest.

4. Don’t just play the game, keep scoring: Move from long implementations to quick wins. Put points on the board and then look to score again. Velocity and momentum matter. Beat your competition on the future by setting the pace of play and exceeding your customer’s expectations.

5. Drive direction-setting and change through omnipresent leadership: Strategic success depends on critical mass commitment not forced compliance. Setting expectations is gamesmanship – aligning them is leadership. Be sure that your leaders understand your direction and are aligned with it. When leaders are aligned, they can be counted on to make the “right” decisions most of the time.

To close, this framework is only the beginning of doing the work that is needed to differentiate your firm from your competitors so you can dominate the markets that you serve. However, understanding and embracing this framework is essential to driving deep the changes that make a difference into your organization. Businesses that strive to do this are the ones that set the standard of excellence for everyone else. I hope that you consider leveraging this model when working to redefine how you do what you do.

NOTE: This piece was originally published by INC. on August 15, 2016.

Work Performance and the Perils of Comparison

Let me take you back in time.  You’re in 8th grade.  You’ve signed up for your first guitar lesson and the teacher plays Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”   She offers it up as an example of a great song that you can learn to play.  You’re motivated to learn, right?  Wrong!  She no sooner finishes her sentence about “you can learn how to play,” when you hear Jimmy Page rips into his classic solo and you decide then and there that it’s time to take up sports – “because there ain’t no way you’re going to be able to do what Jimmy’s doing in that song!”  You leave the lesson discouraged.

I share this because there is new evidence uncovered by researchers Avi Feller and Todd Rogers that suggests “that exposure to exemplary peer performances can undermine motivation and success by causing people to perceive that they cannot attain their peers’ high levels of performance.”  This finding has some huge implications for businesses – especially as it pertains to individual and team performance in the workplace.

But, managers, don’t despair!  You and you’re team are not doomed to a work life of less than stellar achievement.  There are some things that you can do to avoid falling into this trap.  Here are 5 suggestions:

1.      Show that you’re into it!  Passion and enthusiasm are contagious.  If you demonstrate that you’re into the work at hand, your team can’t help but follow.

2.      Set goals that can be attained.  Don’t set the Led Zeppelin as the goal.  Rather, choose goals that can be achieved.  The team will hang in there and work to get better, if they can gain a sense of accomplishment as they work.

3.      Stop comparing your team to others.  As the research suggests, there are other ways to motivate.  Challenge the team to work towards improving their performance every day, every week and every month – Jimmy Page wasn’t born a virtuoso.  He grew his talent over time through practice and dedication.

4.      Provide air cover.  If you have someone else to answer to, as most managers do, you may not be able to control how you and your team are measured from above.  So, it’s essential that you have your teams back as they progress.  By providing some air cover you’ll give your team the chance to mature and evolve into meeting and exceeding all expectations.

5.      Make it about the journey and not about the destination.  It’s OK to have some fun at work.  Make performance achievement about the “this is how we get better” and, not about the consequences of not meeting goals.

To close, comparison can be a perilous path to take when working to motivate.  Like the guitar teacher, you can intimidate those that you’re trying to inspire.  Instead of falling into the comparison trap, try some of these tips and you just might lead your team to outstanding performance.

NOTE: This piece, Work Performance and the Perils of Comparison,  was originally published in Inc. on July 18, 2016.

Executive Engagement 101

Change management is tough work and it’s nearly impossible to be successful without executive commitment and participation. Here’s 4 steps that you can take to garner executive engagement in the process.

I’ve written about staff engagement from the top-down in many of my past columns–written from the perspective of executives engaging their people in transformation work. But, this is the first time that I’ve tackled the subject from the bottom-up. How do staff members engage their executive sponsors in the process of change management?

As a management consultant responsible for driving organizational change in many of the top companies on the planet, I’ve often found myself needing to figure out the best way to garner executive commitment to change. Here are 4 tips worth considering:

1. Ask Them for It: Executive interviewing is a great first step to take to gain executive commitment to change. It is here that you can gain each executive’s perspective on what needs to be accomplished and what “done” looks like.

2. Give Them Something to Live By: Once the interviewing is completed, it’s wise to synthesize the results. It’s likely that several themes will merge from your interview notes. Use that data to develop “strategic principles” that the organization can use to guide its behavior and approach to direction-setting.

You can think of strategic principles as a statements of senior management’s preferences for how the business will be run. Each principle is crafted as a statement, followed by a rationale (that describe why this principle is important to embrace and institute) of a couple of paragraphs and a bulleted list of implications. The implications suggest what must be done (i.e., the price the organization must be willing to pay in order to realize the implementation of the principle) in order to institute the principle described.

Typically, a set of a dozen, or so, principles can be developed through the interview process. Once delivered, the executive team can use them to keep one another involved and aligned during the rest of the change effort.

3. Use Structure to Keep Them in the Game: In parallel with the interviewing process, it’s wise to establish some mechanisms that can be used to ensure continued executive involvement. For instance, create an executive steering committee (ESC) comprised of your senior sponsors. Schedule monthly review sessions with the ESC. Use that time together to solicit input and feedback for your effort as it evolves over time. Establish ground rules that require their attendance. This can go a long way to keep them interested and engaged.

4. Make It Somebody’s Job: As the change effort matures and the executives grow accustomed to meeting and discussing its progress, you can consider suggesting the creation of a new role for the group, that of transformation coordinator, who can act as a liaison between the ESC and the transformation team. This individual can use the strategic principles to keep the ESC members aligned through the duration of the change effort, while setting the ESC meeting agendas, facilitating the meetings, supplying meeting minutes and overseeing any follow-up activities that may be identified in the ESC meetings. While this role can be challenging for a subordinate to “keep the executives honest,” the “right” person can serve as a critically effective linchpin between the senior team and the those charged with doing the work of transformation for the organization.

To close, these 4 tips are not intended to be a panacea that guarantees success. But, they can serve as an insurance policy, of sorts, that minimizes the risk of failure in your next change effort. I hope that you find them valuable and use them. I know that I will continue to use them in my transformation work.

Note: This piece originally appeared in Inc.com on May 31, 2016.

8 Tips for ‘Keeping It Real’ During Your Cultural Transformation Effort

Driving cultural transformation is always a challenge. Here are 8 tips to smooth your journey and make landing at your destination a little easier.

Whenever I consider the pain and toil that goes into every deep, cultural transformation effort I recall the words of Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” Indeed, transformation work is always challenging. You’re asking people to change and to move out of their comfort zones. Resistance, misunderstanding and confusion abound! But, managing through change doesn’t have to be an exercise in unbearable misery.

Here are 8 considerations worth bearing in mind when you undertake your organization’s next major cultural transformation:

1. Leadership Style: Whatever the prevailing leadership style is within the organization will certainly be called into question. Adjustments must be made that properly align with the future vision and strategic framework of the enterprise. Misalignment leads to misery as staff begin to recognize that they’re being asked to change, but, management is not willing or able.

2. Strategic Planning Practices: Regardless of how planning was done in the past, post-transformation direction-setting had better be formal, regular, transparent and communicated. Your staff will expect to be able to comprehend the strategic plan and understand what their role in helping you achieve it.

3. Communication Protocols: Nothing kills transformation quicker than a lack of communication. Whenever there is a communication vacuum, your staff will fill it with some form of “information”–sometimes accurate, but, usually incorrect. Work to put the communication mechanisms in place and use them keep your people informed on both the changes coming and the rationale for making those changes a reality.

4. Brand Proposition: Your brand must be aligned with you culture or your change efforts will fail. For example, consider discount airline carrier, their brand denotes low cost provider and their culture should be all about cost reduction. Trying to establish a rich service delivery will not work for them. The costs that come with delivering industry-leading service would run them out-of-business. Brand, product and service all must match culture and culture must support the delivery of of the brand promise.

5. Technology Integration: Can’t overemphasize the importance of supporting cultural change through the proper leverage of technology. Technology is an enabler. Let it enable your transformation by providing your people with the technical tools that they need to succeed.

6. Staff Preparedness: You have to be sure that your people are ready to perform. That said, all of your practices aimed at recruitment, retention, reward and engagement must be aimed at getting the right players in place to knock it out of the park. If your team is not prepared to do what must be done to transform the organization, it simply won’t happen.

7. Performance Measurement Alignment: Your measurement programs have to measure the “right” behaviors and reward the “right” outcomes. After all, people do what they’re measured on. So, failing to establish a program that perfectly allies with the guiding principles of your transformation is a recipe for failure.

8. Organizational Design: The organization design that you develop must support the culture that you’re promoting. Flatter is faster, as bureaucratic layers are replaced by a structural design that is more responsive and decisive. The only caveat, your front-line staff must be properly trained and educated to make the kind of informed decisions that your supervisors and managers would ordinarily make. Invest in your people and they will pay dividends.

In closing, “Yes,” there will be pain whenever you take on the hard work of driving cultural change within an organization. But, the suffering is up to you. By considering the 8 tips provided above, I hope that your suffering will be kept at bay, while your change effort runs smoothly and is lastingly effective.

NOTE: This piece originally appeared in Inc. magazine on May 16, 2016.  If you like this column, subscribe to email alerts and you’ll never miss an article.

5 Management Practices Needed for Flawless Service Delivery

The time has come for these ideas to be embraced and instituted across every business that wants to compete on service.

In the past, I’ve written other articles on the subject of strategy and competition. To summarize the messages from earlier articles, it is my belief that every business competes across only three main dimensions–product, price and service. Certainly, strategies to cover all three elements are essential for the ongoing growth and success of a business. That said, this piece focuses on service delivery.

Here are 5 management practices that are essential for competing on service:

1. Adopt an “Outside-In” Perspective: If you want to be exceptional at servicing clients, you need to walk in their shoes. By adopting an outside-in perspective on all of your customer dealings, you’ll begin to see your business (and how you’re treating them) through their eyes. By encouraging your team to practice the same, they will help you re-imagine the customer experience and redefine your service delivery approaches and policies.

2. Encourage an “In It Together” Attitude: Speaking of your service delivery team, you want to do all that you can to inspire teamwork and trust among those front-line personnel. After all they define the customer experience. Be sure to encourage a cooperative approach among them in servicing the customer. It will not only make their jobs easier to do when they know that they have a team behind them, but, they’ll begin to keep one another honest in living up to the shared values of delivering impeccable service.

3. Hire and Train for Empathy: It’s important to look for and develop empathy among your front-line staff. The better your team can understand where your customers are coming from and what they need, the more likely your team will be able to deliver the “right” service in the “right” way to impress your customers.

4. Empower the Front-Line: Once your team is properly staffed and trained, it’s wise to get out of their way and let them deliver on your promises. An empowered front-line (that are properly prepared to do their jobs) will make the most appropriate service delivery decisions without having to seek permission or approval. In turn, empowered teams will streamline your whole service process without any negative impact on your business.

5. Measure for Customer Satisfaction: One of the areas that may of my clients trip-up on is employee measurement. Many fail to identify and institute the most appropriate measures to encourage desired staff behaviors. So, be sure to measure them on customer happiness and not attempt to limit their ability to deliver great service by measuring them on the wrong things.

To close, please remember that your customer always have other choices. So, instituting a service delivery model that serves and delights your most discerning customers will keep them coming back for more. I hope that you use these 5 management practices to form the foundation for your service delivery approach. As I begin to drive a new consulting practice within N2Growth, I intend to use them for sure!

Please note that this article originally appeared at Inc.com on April 25, 2016.  If you like this column, subscribe to email alerts and you’ll never miss an article.