The Strategic Roadmap - Strategies & Measures
November 01, 2018
In this episode of “Generations in Family Business: Past, Present and Future”, Matt Kerzner and Tim Schuster discuss the importance of developing an organizations Strategies and Measures using a three prong approach: Business Development, Operating Efficiency and People Development.
TS: To continue on our conversation, a major philosophy of the Center is our strategic roadmap where Matt and I have been taking each step of the roadmap and breaking it down for our listeners. During our last podcast, we discussed how a company can figure out its goals and objectives, and how its goals and objectives help the company. In this episode, we're going to discuss strategies and measures and what our game plan is as a company. So, Matt, can you tell us what are strategies and measures and how they help a company?
MK: Great question, Tim. The previous podcasts that we've done have centered on mission: why we exist, our core values, what we believe in/the vision, what we want to be. As you mentioned, we talked about objectives, goals and what we want to accomplish. So, really, strategies and measures are what are the action items, what are the deliverables for each of those areas, and how are you going to measure to make sure that they're successful? They're made up of three major categories, or buckets, that organizations need to look at. One is business development; two is operating efficiency; and three is people. But it's really looking at the action items that have to happen in all of these areas to really move the needle at the company.
TS: That makes sense. The pillars build up to these strategies and measures.
MK:Pillars is a great word.
TS: Perfect. So let's actually delve into that a little bit further. I know we discussed this briefly in our inaugural podcast as well, but walk us through a little of the business development.
MK:Sure. So business development is really the activity of pursuing strategic opportunities for your business. For a particular business, it's the long-term value of the organization. It's looking at your customers, your market and your relationships that you develop. It's how you grow the business. An owner, a CEO, or the executive team really needs to look at how we develop partnerships. How do we find the right joint ventures or people to partner with that can help us grow the business? It's also identifying new markets, products and services that we want to provide. It’s not just your core business, but how do we expand that pie? The other one is how do we look at our offerings and diversify them? As I mentioned, these all help drive the growth and profitability of an organization. So when I talk about business development, those areas are how you grow the business. It's what can we do to maximize our bottom-line profit.
TS: That makes sense. And from my perspective of working with clients, I tend to see this a lot where it's almost an evaluation stage that you have to go through every few years to make sure you are staying diversified.
MK: I like what you said. Every few years you should have somewhat of a business plan, a strategic plan. The strategic roadmap is a one-year, three-year, five-year plan. So you're right, you should be developing this, if not yearly, every other year or every so many years. Once you do it, you also need to look at it fairly frequently to make sure that you're hitting your goals. Part of the strategies and measures is are we successful? So you really want to take a look at it, and my recommendation is you want to look at it at least a minimum of twice a year.
TS: Absolutely. So why don't you also now take us through operating efficiency.
MK: You can do all the right things with business development: find the right partners, have a great plan to introduce new products and services. But if you don't look at the other side of the profit and loss statement, you can lose that way. So operating efficiency is how do you do things better, faster, more efficiently—to really maximize that bottom-line profit that you need to do for your organization. So, it's looking at your output and the input of running the business and some of the things that can really make an impact. Here's a simple example: electricity. How many people walk out of a room and leave the light on? So introducing technology that once you leave the room, the lights automatically go off. That has a huge impact. Look at your leases for equipment and try to negotiate better deals. Another one is going paperless. Try to reduce how many things get printed or defaulting to black and white versus color. It's these little things that can actually make a huge difference because, again, you could do all the right things for business development, but if you're not looking at operating efficiency, you can lose it on the other end. Another big piece is looking at lean processes, mapping out how you currently do things. I always encourage organizations to really take a look at how they are currently doing things and how they can streamline them. That's what operating efficiency is.
TS: It's interesting you mentioned that, because I always viewed this as time being money and that's where this all goes. People don't really think about this, but where it might take someone four hours to perform a process, you can trim that down to two hours. Even though you're not seeing bottom-line impact, your time is now being saved and could be used elsewhere to do something else. So taking that opportunity to figure out exactly how can we streamline a process to really help out the organization will save money and time. That's the way to do it.
MK:That’s really important. The next category that we'll talk about is people. But before I get into the people, this goes to the operating efficiency of what you said. Let’s say for one task it should take an individual two hours, but it's taking four hours. I always say, okay, when you have a new employee, how are they getting trained? Are they learning the proper way to do it in two hours, or are they trial- and-error learning because they're not being trained properly? I always say if you have somebody at a C level—and I don't mean executive level, I'm talking ABC training a new employee, your output is going to be a C level. Chances are it might take them four hours where it should only take them two hours.
TS: You're only as good as you're trained.
MK: Let's talk about the third one.
TS: The people development side. We were starting to go down that route, but I know that there's a lot of area to cover from an HR perspective.
MK: Great. First, when we use the word HR, I want to be very clear that it's not just one person or the HR department that's responsible for people development. It really is anybody and everybody within the organization who interacts with other human beings. So managers, supervisors, executives, owners and boards are all part of the human resource aspect of the business. And for the people side of it, it really gets into what I call it the four major pillars of a good HR diagnostic.
TS: I love that term.
MK: It’s acquiring human resources, finding the right talent and pipeline, the bench. Once you have the right people, it’s getting them trained, developed and orientated to learn the mission and vision of the company and what's expected of them. Once you do that, then you have to look at how you reward and recognize them for doing a good job in order to keep the motivation going.
MK: Incentivizing is a great word. This is where performance management comes in. A manager, supervisors and leaders set that expectation, monitor those actions, and provide feedback. That's a big piece of people development. Another one is building that bench, developing the human resources, developing your workforce, teaching them the ways of business development, operating efficiency, culture, vision, and values—that's going to be critical. Knowing succession planning, who's ready now, who's ready tomorrow, who was ready a year ago or two years ago. That's all part of developing human resources, finding out the core competencies and really maximizing and transferring knowledge for them to be productive for the organization. The last one is maintaining and protecting human resources. It’s putting the policies and procedures together, creating that culture of having a great place to work. And that's a critical piece of people development. But you want to make sure you have the right people in the right places to really help with this whole strategic roadmap process. That's going to help you with the strategies to know what the game plan is and where you're going.
TS: It’s where every piece should fit in the puzzle for the organization; that makes sense to me. Well, thank you for listening to Generations and Family Business Past, Present, and Future as part of the EisnerAmper podcast series. If you have any questions or there's a topic you'd like us to cover, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. visit eisneramper.com for more information on this and a host of other topics, we look forward to have you listened in on our next EisnerAmper podcast.